I have long waited for this day to come. Gridironstuds.com was launched in 2009 and our initial 2009 class was a great one sure to produce some NFL talent. Names like Tavon Austin (WVU), Rueben Randle (LSU), Russell Sheppard (LSU), Jamaal Berry (OSU) and William Gholston (MSU) stacked our initial class and left many of our visitors excited about their futures. However, with his early declaration for the NFL draft, former Miami Killian High School product and now former Miami Hurricane Lamar Miller is poised to be the first Gridironstuds.com member drafted into the NFL. After redshirting in 2009, Miller turned some heads in the 2010 season rushing for 646 yards and 6 TDs while averaging an unusual 6.0 yards per carry. Miller followed that up with a 2011 redshirt sophomore year that saw him gain 1,272 yards average 5.6 yards per carry and hit the end zone nine times. With that, Miller has declared for the NFL draft and will take his talents to the NFL come April. There’s always the chance that someone else from our 2009 class will declare early but until then, it seems that Lamar Miller will be the first member to be drafted. Click here to view Lamar Miller’s profile on Gridironstuds.com.
So much talk about the Indianapolis Colts and what they should do. Whether it’s lose their last game intentionally to whether or not they should trade Peyton Manning and draft Andrew Luck.
In my next life, I would want to be a NFL general manager. Hell, if I weren’t running up on 40, I would make a run at that career right now. I guess I need someone to encourage me to go after it anyway despite my advancing years. However, I digress.
In Peyton Manning, the Colts have a proven winner, hard worker, team motivator, etc. It would be ludicrous to part ways with Manning in favor of an unproven rookie no matter what you feel his potential may be. I don’t even believe that the Colts should draft Luck and have him sit behind Manning until Manning retires or proves that he can no longer get it done. After all, we have no idea when that might be. Also, if Luck is all that people believe that he will be then he probably needs to be on the field sooner rather than later ala Matthew Stafford.
So what should the Indianapolis Colts do with their #1 draft pick. The Colts should use that pick to either pick the best player in the draft that is not a quarterback or trade that pick away to earn several more picks and put the best possible team around the quarterback position. Why should they do this? Well, one day, Peyton Manning will no longer be wearing a Colts uniform. It is in the best interest of the Colts to create a situation where the next quarterback coming in does not have to be Superman or even Andrew Luck at first for the team to be successful. Draft a Hall of Fame type running back (Trent Richardson). Acquire a dominant left tackle. Get a big time wide receiver. Have an awesome defense. Set all that up now in preparation for “The End of Days.” Why ignore the other needs of your team while trying to replace the best player on the team and in the franchise’s history in it’s modern era? That’s like getting up to replace the oven gold Turkey on your plate when you know the potato salad is spoiled, the rice is overcooked and the macaroni tastes like a glass of milk.
Attention Division I, I-AA and even division II programs. If you are looking for a talented, athletic, physically gifted DE/LB type to fill out your 2012 class then we have one for you. Tristan Humbles (Notre Dame, Chicago, IL) is new to the organized football game but you wouldn’t entirely know that watching him on film. Humbles is well put together and that’s obvious when you look at the video. He also knows how to get after the quarterback, be relentless and put the pressure on the person assigned to block him play after play. One of the best attributes a defender can bring to the table is a great motor. As Ray Lewis is often quoted as saying before his unit takes to the field “let’s go hunt!”. Humbles goes hunting on Friday Nights and there’s no doubt that his hunting should continue on Saturday for an upper echelon college football program. The tape doesn’t lie on this prospect. View Tristan Humbles 2011 senior year highlight video.
Combine season is fast approaching and there will be athletic testing popping up on every open stretch of grass in the major cities across the country. With so many combines to choose from, how do you determine which ones are a worthy endeavor and which ones are a waste of time and hamstring energy. One major aspect that can separate the real from the unreal is the presence of standardized testing at the combine event. By standardized I mean digital time of the 40 yard dash and other agility drills. It’s the best way to legitimately gauge one athlete against another either at the local combine or another combine taking place at another location. I see the implementation of standardized testing being the wave of the future on the high school level if no other reason other than the fact that so many athletes participate in these combines annually. Zybek Sports out of Boulder, Colorado is taking a leadership role in bringing standardized athletic testing to the high school level. Here is a recent article written by them on the importance of standardized testing at combine events.
IMPORTANCE OF STANDARDIZED COMBINE TESTING
By: Michael Weinstein – Zybek Sports
With fractions of an inch and two decimal places separating the top players on most teams, it is important to ensure an athlete’s data is uniform and accurate. Colleges and Pro teams need to ensure that the athletes they are considering are being measured consistently and accurately. The use of Fully Automated Timing (FAT) systems, where the time is started by the athlete and stopped by the athlete, are the first important step in ensuring that athletes are being compare fairly. Other important steps include: ensuring the system is setup in exactly the distance specified; providing a certificate of timer equipment accuracy, and documentation of the test conditions, including running surface type, weather conditions, etc. Not following these guidelines will always call into question the accuracy of the claimed time.
Zybek Sport’s timing system provides a traceable F.A.T platform. Wires are used to connect the timer display unit to the remote sensors. Although wires may seem old-fashion, marks on the wires are placed exactly at the 10 / 20 / 40 yard positions, thus ensuring exact placement of the timing points. Also, the use of wires precludes any timing interferences / delays in wireless communications with the timing box. Another issue that needs to be considered when setting up a verified, traceable timing system is ensuring the system is configured properly. ZAP has designed the basic F.A.T. systems to be extremely simple. Whereas some timing systems have software and remote communications links, ZAP’s system has two switches: one on / off and one reset. This makes operation easy and leaves little room for setup error.
To reduce testing time, many coaches have opted to use devices to measure “hang-time”. The “hang time” is then used to calculate the vertical jump. Although this method may be reasonable from a classic physics perspective and is fast, it often does not translate into an accurate actual vertical jump. The classic vertical flag stack measurement is what the NFL uses and most colleges. Vertec was the first to pioneer the vertical jump measurement system. The flag system was and continues to be the most accurate means of measuring the vertical jump. The use of a Vertec can often be time consuming, however. For example, some coaches, often a use a piece of tape placed on the pole marking the athletes reach height. After the athlete jumps, a tape measure is used to determine the distance between the tape mark and the bottom flag. Accurate, but slow.
A new system by ZAP has made the testing very fast with no math. The reach height is set by adjusting the mask to the height reach height. The jump height is then simply read from the flag. Although amazingly simple, this method of determining the vertical jump is very fast, easy and intuitive. When maximal jump height is needed, the mask is set at a scribed mark and the height is simply read. This is both fast and accurate.
Providing an accurate, standardized and documented method of physical combine testing is important to the athletes. Athletes need to be very careful when selecting a testing institution for providing their numbers. As mentioned, it is obvious that using a hang-time measurement is not an accurate method of reporting the vertical jump measurement. The NFL uses a series of mechanical flags to measure vertical jump. The testing company reporting the athlete’s score should use the same system. The timing system differences, however, are a little more subtle and need to be investigated before accepting times from a combine company as real. The most important requirement for any testing company is the use of a Fully Automated Timing system. As seen in most programs, the difference in times between the top athletes is so minor, that any error introduced by a hand start makes the difference between the athletes statistically the same. Even giving experience coaches the benefit of repeatable hand-eye coordination, it is nearly impossible for the eye to view the start; the brain to process; and the hand to mechanically ‘push the start button’ with 100% repeatability. At the 2011 NFL combine, the best time in the 40 was 4.28 seconds. The next nine times ranged from 4.34 to 4.40. If you had the 4.31 second time, wouldn’t you be questioning the consistency of a hand started time? Especially because some combine events span multiple days, the starter’s actual reaction time can be influenced by fatigue and ambient conditions that far exceed a few hundredths of a second. So, ensuring the combine testing company has a repeatable, verifiable; F.A.T. system is of paramount importance to the numbers. Also, it appears the laser-style start sensor system, is a reliable start method for a F.A.T. system. Other systems, using a touch pad, can alter the preferred starting position of the athlete and be one additional mental distraction (e.g., am I pressing hard enough? Will I slip on the pad if my back foot contacts the pad, etc.) that has nothing to do with running the fastest time possible. Laser start systems measure and test the athlete’s performance. Additional human errors are eliminated.