Thursday, July 2, 2009

Larry Smith is not the SEC's worst quarterback... but it sure doesn't hurt if the rest of the SEC believes that

Seth Emerson of the State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., ranks the SEC quarterbacks and puts Larry Smith dead last.

I love it. No team has gotten in the heads of Gamecock fans – and Gamecock players – more than the Commodores. Last season before we dominated them in Nashville, the State’s readers were predicting online that they would beat Vandy by at least five touchdowns.

Imagine what they think they’re gonna do to us this year, especially since we have the SEC’s worst quarterback.

Of course, Larry Smith is not really the SEC’s worst quarterback, and I bet he scares the daylights out of the Gamecocks in Columbia this season. But in the meantime, let’s let the rest of the SEC think that.

Click here to see Emerson’s article, which is the sort of half-baked poop that sportswriters are serving up while they wait for SEC media days in a couple of weeks.

Tim Tebow and Jevan Snead are the top two, of course, followed by LSU’s Jordan Jefferson, Georgia’s Joe Cox, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Bama’s Greg McElroy, SC’s Stephen Garcia, Tennessee’s Jonathan Crompton, Kentucky’s Mike Hartline, State’s Tyson Lee and Auburn’s Kodi Burns.

Kodi Burns? Are you kidding me?

What a stupid list.

After Tebow and Snead, nobody’s done anything. Jefferson and Garcia are raw and athletic, but so is Larry Smith. Cox has won the one game he’s started, but so has Larry Smith. McElroy’s never started a game, but Emerson’s impressed that he performed under pressure in front of all those fans during Bama’s spring game. Huh? Mallett is a stud prospect, but so was Jonathan Crompton. Oh, and Mike Hartline is so good that Kentucky benched him last season in favor of a true freshman wide receiver. And Tyson Lee? He can’t throw, though we all know he can run on third and long.

See what I mean? Numbers 3-12 are up in the air, and Larry Smith could very well have risen eight or nine notches by the end of the season.

In the meantime, let’s hope everybody keeps underestimating Larry – and the rest of the Commodores.


Bob Loblaw said...

I think you're probably right. If you just looked at completion percentages and TD/INT ratio, I don't even know how much the order changes. What we have in the SEC this upcoming season is a lot of unproven QBs plus Tim Tebow and maybe Jevan Snead. I'll be happy if Hartline outperforms Crompton's Turnover Machine.

Smith just hasn't had hardly any reps in games except for the Music City Bowl. Granted, that's a big stage, but numbers from that game are hardly enough to determine whether or not he's any good. I think he's a great athlete, though, and if he ever gets any time to throw the ball to an open receiver, I certainly hope he can connect consistently.


Yes, everybody's unproven except Tebow and Snead, which is why ranking them is so ridiculous. If I had to pick a No. 3, it would probably be Mallett of Arkansas, a big, strong kid who looked a lot better than Chad Henne when he replaced him for a couple of games as a freshman at Michigan. Mallett, a former hot-shot recruit and high-profile transfer, could be this year's Jevan Snead, who transferred from Texas after losing the starting job to Colt McCoy.

One thing that makes Larry Smith a mystery is how slow Bobby Johnson has been to take the wraps off him. In the Music City Bowl, he threw two first-quarter deep passes that got us into scoring position and then Chris Nickson entered the game and ensured we'd have to kick a field goal. In the previous game, against Wake Forest, he threw a 70-yard pass that hit Sean Walker in the hands. So Vandy fans can't wait to see him play every down.

Stanimal said...

Considering I'm a Vanderbilt grad at South Carolina Law School, I just HAVE to make a comment, because it's been so very enjoyable watching flabbergasted faces here over the past two years. The reason being is that it proves a point, and one I think you might corroborate.

In my first year here, the Gamecocks were #6 in the nation, and were coming off a huge win over UK. That all came crashing down when Mackenzi Adams stunned the Ol' Ball Coach and his boys right in Columbia. The Gamecocks fell into a downward spiral on the way to losing their next six games.

In my second year, the Gamecocks were once again talking about what could be, and Vanderbilt was merely an after-thought. Boom, the Gamecocks got smacked down yet again, this time in Nashville. They had a better season, but it didn't end as sweetly as ours, as we beat Boston College in the Music City Bowl and they looked soft against Iowa.

I actually think the success we've had against them over the past couple of years proves a point: it doesn't matter how you look on paper with recruiting ratings, prestige of your coach, etc. What matters is who you recruit in terms of character, how you prepare them, and how you perform on the field. Chris Low hits it right on the head when he says that Bobby Johnson "gets more out of his players than anyone." People who write the kind of garbage that the State comes up with, well, they simply aren't paying attention, or are living in blissful ignorance. (Except for the guy who wrote the article about Vandy and Kentucky battling for first and second in the East in basketball, they might actually be correct).


Great post, Stanimal. Speaking of character, I'll never forget how Captain Munnerlyn melted down late in last year's game in Nashville, picking up a penalty or two and generally freaking out because he realized his worst nightmare was coming true.

Bob Loblaw said...

I don't know how bad a nightmare can be when your name is Captain.


His dream is to one day become Major Munnerlyn.