Rocky’s V: Big stars, a Duck flies away and bowling in the Bahamas

10/11/2013

Rockys VI. Concern for Jameis Winston and Seminoles?

While everyone is fawning over another unreal performance by Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, I actually came away concerned. Winston and his Seminole team utterly dismantled Maryland 63-0 last week, but a truly great team awaits the ‘Noles a week from tomorrow after a bye this weekend. Yes, versus the Terrapins, Winston was 23 of 32 for a career-best 393 yards. Yes, he had five touchdowns versus a Maryland team that coming into the game was ranked third in the FBS in total defense. But what didn’t happen in that game was for Winston to get the test he needed to be get experience ahead of a big game like the upcoming one at Clemson. Quarterbacks, especially young ones, need to go through some adversity to see how they respond. Winston needs to throw a couple picks then put it behind him to bounce back and lead his team to victory. That is the true test of greatness. A brutal and almost easy beatdown of Maryland did more harm than good in that department and Clemson’s swarming defense may present a situation where the wheels come off of Winston’s brilliant performances so far this year.

II. My thoughts on Clowney

It has been talked about ad nauseam all week, but here are my thoughts on stud defensive end and projected top-five pick Jadeveon Clowney and his decision to pull himself minutes before last week’s game. No, Clowney should not forgo the rest of the season to protect his health and secure the life-altering millions he will receive in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. As freakish as his ability may be, he is still very raw. Clowney has not shown great technical development to this point, and still relies heavily upon his athleticism. To become great in the NFL and not be doomed to a three-year flicker of a career, he needs to view the college ranks and this season as his minor leagues where he can work on the skills that a.) will make him a better future pro and b.) subsequently help his team win games. I think deep down Clowney wants to do that, but he had the misfortune of a tough offseason. A shoulder injury early in camp, chronic bone spurs, and now a rib injury – all while dealing with the pressure of the unreal expectations put upon him – have worn him down.

This past weekend was undoubtedly a situation of a player who has been banged up all season not wanting to risk his future opportunity to not only alter his life but also the lives of all his family members. I am of the opinion that he should sit until 100% healthy.  But when he is 100%, he has the obligation to the game, to his future development, and to himself as a man to go out there and play and take the same risk of injury as every other player who has come before him.

III. Oregon TE Colt Lyerla leaves team for good

This one is a real head-scratcher. Colt Lyerla, a junior and therefore already draft eligible, has not been happy with how he has been used in the Ducks offensive system this year, totaling only two receptions for 26 yards after coming into the season with high expectations. He will not transfer and instead will focus on perusing the NFL. While Lyerla possesses all the physical tools needed to thrive in the NFL, his grumblings about playing time and decision to leave the program halfway through the season raises severe red flags to me. What makes this guy think it’s going to be easier in the NFL where coaches and management have absolutely zero regard for your feelings? Maybe Lyerla is dealing with personal issues off the field but either way, NFL teams are not going to like his inability to persevere through adversity. Even if he wasn’t used properly in the Oregon system, to walk away midseason shows a huge character flaw. He comes away from this looking very self-centered and immature, which is something the people he hopes will employ him in the future will not like.

IV. Pink Overload

For the past few years, coaches, players, and even referees in both college and pro football have honored Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donning pink shoes, pink gloves, and various other pink accessories. This year New Mexico State will wear pink jerseys. I’m all about the pink accessories to honor a great and worthy cause, but it’s getting out of control. I worry teams and players are becoming more concerned with making a fashion statement than raising awareness. Does more pink raise more awareness? If so, then lets add pink helmets and pink pants to the jerseys. While we’re at it, let’s roll out pink field turf and play on that. Of course, that’s ridiculous – which makes my point. I just don’t want to see this great tradition getting cheapened in the name of fashion, recruiting and media attention for the wrong reasons.

V. Bahamas Bowling

Word came out Monday that next year, the number of college bowl games will be increased to 39 and new game will be played in the Bahamas! It’ll be the first bowl game played outside the United States since the International Bowl was held in Toronto from 2007-2010. I think it is a brilliant move, and it looks like five conferences, the MAC, Sunbelt, AAC, Conference USA, and the Mountain West will be in the mix to be a part of this game in the sun and fun of the Bahamas. Speaking as a former player, there is a common misconception that players LOVE going to bowl games and this argument is always brought up when talking about schools facing NCAA sanctions and facing a “bowl ban” of a certain number of years. Let me let you in on a little secret: players by and large don’t love going to bowl games, especially when those bowl games are the likes of the Beef ‘O Brady bowl in St. Petersburg or the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit. December, cold and/or an obscure name just don’t scream fun. But a bowl game in the Bahama? That’s something every team and player will fight hard to get to. And it works for fans too. While the location sounds exotic, it’s only a 30-minute flight from Miami. It’s not too early to volunteer my services to any TV/radio/internet outlet that broadcasts the game, is it? As a guy who has visited the Bahamas many times, I’m hoping Kalik is a major sponsor.

- Rocky Boiman

Rocky Boiman is an analyst for WestwoodOne’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion writes about five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. You can also follow Rocky on Twitter.

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