Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"He makes other fast people look...Not Fast."

Friday, June 4, 2010 - David Hale posted the numbers from the Post-Spring Combine at UGA.

Approximately two minutes later, the blogosphere imploded under the weight of fan scrutiny.

Luckily, there was a self-redundant system in place to restore the world's internets and we were soon up and running. Now we can all chew this numbers up, see how they taste, then decide to finish the meal or simply spew them out onto the ground. Many folks are spewin'.

I have to ask, though....why? The only numbers people are having trouble with are the 40 times. I have yet to see anyone ask how Orson Charles can throw 225 up 26 times on the Bench Press, while Kiante Tripp only gets 25 reps, and Deangelo Tyson 24. Perhaps we should have Charles at DT, he's obviously stronger.

No one has mentioned yet that 290 lb Abry Jones can apparently outjump 170 lb Rontavious Wooten for distance.

No, the thing everyone seems to be so undone about is Cornelius Washington's 4.29 40 time. Man, that thing has people bent all out of shape. When it's a corner or a wideout running an insane 40 like that, people just saw "Wow! He's fast." But, since it's a linebacker, people are immediately blaming the coaches for falsifying numbers, for fudging, for embellishing.

While the 40 is a decent measure of overall speed, in the method of timing UGA uses, the advantage goes to a player who can get off the ball. This may be what you're seeing in Washington's time. Many players have their numbers decreased by as much as a few tenths of a second because their "firing" motion is poor. If you have your back hand up above your head, and drop it before you move, the clock starts. By the time you swing it through, and fire off the line, you're already being timed, and have made no progress toward the endline.

It's quite possible that Washington, who we know to be a strong pass-rusher, has a very good start to his 40. If his initial movement is propelling him FORWARD, instead of DOWNWARD, he is going to gain a bit of an advantage over the clock. Then, it's up to his athleticism to hit a great time. Washington is 6'5 and a specimen of an athlete. Many believe that height will hurt him in running, but with the success of Usain Bolt, sports science has seen new advantages to big-bodied runners. It's all about STRIDE - movement along the plane. Some people bounce up and down too much when they run, some hang in the air just a bit too long. Perhaps Washington's stride keeps him more grounded, enabling each step to drive him closer to the end-line instead of the skyline.

Or, perhaps he simply got the best of the timer on that particular run.

Whatever it was that resulted in Washington's unbelievable time, you should take it with a grain of salt. Looking at the report from the coaches, we see that nearly half the team beat the AVERAGE for their group at the NFL combine. That's great. Some people say that's ridiculous, that there's no way we could have that many athletes of that caliber. I say we damn well BETTER have that many athletes of that caliber. Don't forget, these NFL Combine numbers aren't numbers for all the players currently IN the NFL...they're numbers for the college players hoping to make it INTO the NFL. That means you have your elite 1st round pick guys...and you have guys who may ultimately get signed to a practice squad, and wash out after a couple of years. Hell, I could have gone to the combine. There's a wide range of athleticism there. So, to have guys on our team beat the AVERAGE isn't only understandable, it's expected.

Look, what we should take from this is that we have a number of very good athletes on the team this year. When they take the field, they are going to be capable of performing at a level we as fans haven't seen in a while. That should excite us. They're not going to get out on the field and push weight. They aren't going to long-jump. But, they're going to be able to use their superior athleticism to play the greatest sport ever conceived - football.

A 40-yard dash will rarely come into play on a saturday...and one by an OLB is even less likely. If an OLB is running a 40-yard dash on gameday, something has gone horribly wrong (Or, he's chasing a scrambling QB from sideline to sideline). Still, how nice will it be to see an OLB who can run down a backside play for a loss? Oh man, that'll be sweet.

Go Dawgs.

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