Last night was a no-good, terrible night for Southeast Missouri for a pair of reasons: they lost a game they desperately needed to win, and they’ve lost their leading scorer, Jarekious Bradley for at leas the next week, and possibly more. If alarm bells weren’t already going off in Cape Girardeau, they should be now.
Watching the CBS Sports Network telecast last night, I couldn’t tell what happened to Bradley. I just saw him down on the court in pain, and the network didn’t feel the need to show any replays. According to Southeast Missouri’s head coach Dickie Nutt, he’ll miss the next 7-8 days at an absolute minimum with a knee injury, and might not return this season. According to Josh Fryman of KFVS, Bradley is undergoing an MRI this afternoon.
But it’s not just Bradley’s injury that’s worrying Nutt, it’s his team’s reaction to it.
“For whatever reason we played tight, ” Nutt told the Southeast Missourian. “We played as if we had pressure on us, we played with a lack of confidence. All those things are something that — I mean, you’ve got to be a player. You’re a Division I player. You can’t allow a little thing — you can’t allow big things like an injury to one of our players … and then we just played with a lack of urgency. They put a 3-2 zone on us and we couldn’t crack it. We couldn’t hit a shot.”
If the Redhawks have to go without Bradley, “a lack of confidence” isn’t going to make the road any smoother.
After I posted my Player of the Year power rankings, there was much debate, as I fully hoped and expected there would be. But with two strong nominees on sub .500 teams it got me thinking: How often does a top team have the PoY?
Of the last 35 winners of the award, 27 were on either the team that won the regular season championship or were runner-up. If you don’t want to break out the calculators, that’s 77%, or just better than three in four.
Of the other eight, two were on sub .500 teams: Henry Domercant in 2001-2002, (EIU was 7-9 that season) and Brett Roberts in 1991-92. (Morehead State went 6-8 in OVC play) The others on non-champion or runner-up teams? Lester Hudson‘s first of two awards, (UTM, ’07-08) Treton Hassell, (AP, 2000-01) Bob McCann, (Morehead 1986-87) Joe Jakubick, (Akron 1982-83) and both of Jerry Beck‘s awards. (MTSU 1980-81, ’82-83)
While there is precident, one difference between this year and past winners is the field. I remember Domercant and Hudson, and both were dominant players in their time. Is Jarekious Bradley, Tyler Stone, or Patrick Miller clear and above better than JJ Mann, Cameron Payne, Jarvis Williams, Glenn Cosey, or Angelo Miller? I think when you compare similar resumes, I feel the edge could go to the players on better teams.
Yesterday, the NCAA announced proposed rule changes for college football next season, with tweaks on targeting and slowing down up-tempo offenses among the changes. The targeting change is just common sense, and changes and awful rule with good intentions to just a bad rule with good intentions. It’s the clock management one I find more interesting.
As you’re probably aware, in college football the play clock stops on first down’s until the ball can be set. Since they’re using the play clock to determine the “10 seconds” that the offense isn’t allowed to hike the football, it’s going to be closer to 20 (or more) on first down plays. While trying to make changes on third down, for instance, would be difficult; You would have to know before the play started exactly who was subbing in or staying out, and what the next play call would be, on first down’s the defense will have plenty of time.
This is where up-tempo offenses will have troubles. Very few second down plays, even in the fastest offenses, get off with more than 30 seconds on the play clock: it’s usually much closer to 25. But on first down’s? Now the offense, which could presumably be nearly set up before the ball is even set, will have to stand over the ball for an additional 10 seconds, waiting for the play clock to reach 30. I understand the reasoning for the rule, it’s (notably weak) link to improving “player safety,” and think it can very much even the playing field for the defense, which is at in inherent disadvantage. But I don’t think they thought it all the way through.
Because up-tempo offenses are part of what makes college football so exciting.