Christmas is rushing in like BYU linebackers! If you feel like Riley Nelson under a full-house blitz, at least don’t turn the ball over. I think everyone is feeling the heat in the dead of winter because of life’s accelerated need for instant gratification and technological superiority. It’s a wild way to live, but don’t feel bad, just think about these poor souls who have to deal with real pre-Christmas stress in December.
The Heisman Trophy
The prestigious Heisman Trophy will be presented Dec. 8 to the best football player in the country. With it comes great weight and responsibility.
I remember when Ty Detmer won the Heisman as a junior in 1990. His triumphant entry into Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium for the Holiday Bowl was short lived as he suffered not one but two separated shoulders, and had to watch his BYU Cougars get stampeded by Texas A&M 65-14.
Detmer went on to play in the NFL — where he was drafted by Green Bay in the ninth round and retired fourteen seasons later as an Atlanta Falcon. He is now the head football coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. Too bad he won’t consider an offensive coordinator position at BYU — there may be an opening — wishful thinking!
Detmer never achieved NFL greatness like he did in college. His small physical stature, (6 feet, 189 pounds), saw to that. However, no one knew football any better than Detmer, which is why he would make such a great college coach.
Detmer is an excellent example of how the Heisman, awarded to the best collegiate football player, doesn’t always translate to the NFL. All you have to do is look at runner-up Andrew Luck, who has led the Colts to second place in the AFC, versus Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, who spends more time whining than winning. If you go through the last 10 years in the NFL, there isn’t a Heisman winner that has lived up to his magnificent trophy.
My pick for the Heisman this year is Johnny Manziel or Johnny Football. The freshman quarterback for Texas A&M has broken the SEC record for total yards in a game and a season, and leads the league in rushing and scoring. This is the SEC we are talking about here! He also upset unbeaten Alabama 29-24, giving the Aggies their first 10-win season since 1998. He’s improvisational, intuitive, fearless, a bit crazy and reckless — he’s Johnny Football!
College football coaches
If you’re a college football coach, this time of year brings one of three traumatic moments before Christmas. One — you keep your job (hopefully with a new contract extension); two — a larger institution hires you with a bigger paycheck; and three — you get fired!
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham isn’t going anywhere soon, even after his Utes went 5-7 and is praying for a shot at a bowl game. Coach Whittingham’s five-year contract pays him $6 million but ends after next season. While cozy now, he may start feeling the squeeze next December if things don’t turn around for the Utes in 2013.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall has BYU fans screaming for his head! Not a chance — Mendenhall’s job is as solid as Brigham Young’s statue. As for his staff, that’s another matter, as Athletic Director Tom Holmoe will surely make some changes this winter. Coach Mendenhall’s contract was extended through the 2013 season.
Coach Gary Anderson led Utah State to their first 10-win season, a WAC Championship and an invitation to the Idaho Potato Bowl. While big schools and big money will come calling, Coach Andersen isn’t going anywhere with the Mountain West Conference still left to beat up on next season. Coach Andersen’s contract was extended through the 2018 season.
Coach Ed Lamb has Southern Utah fans living in fear because he’s such a great coach and mentor. Coach Lamb took a winless team in 2007 and turned it into a GWC Champion in 2010. He has changed the culture of SUU football and has led his team competitively into the Big Sky Conference this season. His well deserved contract extension continues through the 2015 season. Fans are hoping none of the big universities are watching what’s happening in Cedar City.
Weber State can finally breathe a sigh of relief as Coach Jody Sears signed a three-year deal as the Wildcats’ head coach. No more “interim” in Ogden, and it couldn’t have come sooner. Three coaches in less than a year play havoc with players and recruiting. It’s good to see stability and continuity return to Weber State football — now start winning some games.
Still stressed? Don’t be — their fates make ours look easy — so count your blessings. I’ll see you from the sidelines.