Rocky’s V: Firings, Trojans and Johnny Heisman

11/15/2013

Rockys VI. Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English fired for using “wholly inappropriate language.”

With an audio tape of surfacing of Ron English verbally undressing his players during a film session (presumably taped by a player on a smartphone), the concept of “keeping things in-house” has officially died. I don’t support what English said, but no one got physically harmed and the fact remains, English had a right to accuse his players of poor effort. I would know because I have covered EMU this year and the players should be embarrassed at how they played at many points this season. So being real and telling people what they don’t want to hear in a manner they don’t want to hear it is now a fireable offense? We now live in a world where nothing is private, and maybe English should have known that, but English didn’t get physically abusive with anyone. He used some offensive language and I say BIG DEAL. There is something that inherently bothers me about the trend nowadays where people, especially young people, immediately make things public so it can become a spectacle. It is easy for outsiders and people in the media to condemn words and actions when they see them with no context. To me, things said in the heat of the moment are forgivable… a player secretly taping a coach’s rant and putting it out to the media so the wolves can rip him apart is reprehensible.

II. LSU couldn’t do it, can Auburn?

Auburn now stands in the way as the only outside chance Alabama gets upset before the BCS title game. The game is a few weeks away, but Auburn’s play recently has really impressed me. The Tigers have won six straight and three of those wins have been by 30+ points. Even more convincing to me that they have a chance is that Auburn’s QB Nick Marshall is a dual threat guy, proficient at both the run and pass. The only evidence we have that Alabama has struggled this season was versus the ever-creative Johnny Manziel early in the season. A quarterback who can run and escape ‘Bama’s powerful rush keeps plays alive. Auburn is also lucky in that they have a bye week before they face ‘Bama to get healthy and get an extra week to game plan. This matchup can’t get here soon enough.

III. USC has a shot versus Stanford

Stanford goes into the Coliseum to face USC tomorrow night feeling invincible after the punishing, throwback win versus Oregon a little over a week ago. The fact that the  Cardinal now own that dominant upset win may not work in their favor going into this one though. You see, as the end of the season gets closer, and Stanford keeps piling up wins, they suddenly find themselves with a lot to lose. On the contrary, USC is playing like a team with nothing to lose. The Trojans underachieved early, then fired their head coach before interim head coach Ed Orgeron took over. Orgeron has only gone and led USC to wins in four of their last five games. USC has gotten more consistent offensive line play in the last few weeks, which is just what the doctor ordered versus Stanford – a team that lives and dies in the trenches. The wildcard for USC is that arguably the nation’s top wide receiver Marqise Lee is finally back to 100% after a knee injury he has been dealing with all season. With no BCS bowl hopes to keep alive, the Trojans can come out playing loose and maybe pull off the upset.

IV. Manziel should probably win Heisman, but he won’t

As much as I may have preconceived notions about Johnny Manziel and all his “attitude” problems this past offseason and at the start of the season, I have come to grips with fact that up to this point, Manziel has played the most electrifying football in the country this year. Even my wife, who knows NOTHING about football, finds herself mesmerized when she (in her words), “watches that little guy run away from all those big guys and somehow find a way to score a touchdown.” With all that said, mark my words, there will be a concerted effort by some Heisman voter – or a group of voters – who are probably over the age of 65 and still can’t get Manziel’s childish behavior out of their head to have the award go elsewhere. But like him or not, he deserves the Heisman again. I myself want to feel that way but at the end of the day, when Manziel plays, my eyeballs are glued to the screen and I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about a college football player.

V. Myles “Jack” of all trades

A college football rarity happened last week when UCLA true freshman starting linebacker Myles Jack was called into duty as a running back for the Bruins and unbelievably ran for 120 yards in the 31-26 win over Arizona. Jack also played special teams, which had to have put his number of snaps in that game well over 100. This is the kind of thing you have to love about UCLA head coach Jim Mora. Not only does he have the ability to think outside the box to solve a problem with a depleted running back corps, he also is an inspiring enough coach to have a player lay it on the line for his coach and his team.

– 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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