Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Like a rock ...

I took some flak from Kentucky football fans last fall for daring to say that quarterback Andre Woodson was overrated and not the top-level NFL prospect that some were projecting. Apparently, NFL teams are agreeing with me.

Woodson's stock has plummeted in recent months to the point that some wonder if he will be selected on Saturday, the first day of the NFL Draft. It's quite a drop for Woodson, who was rated by some as the best quarterback in America last fall. Now, some don't even have him among the top five passers in the draft.

Why? Woodson's arm strength has come into question (gee, it's about time), coaches don't like the hitch in his delivery that leads to a slow release and he is regarded as one of the least mobile QBs (another of my points that got slammed) in the country. Of course, when a Tennessee defensive lineman runs you down from behind when you're trying to scramble and reach the end zone, NFL scouts aren't going to see you as a guy that can move around in the pocket.

By nearly all accounts, Boston College's Matt Ryan and Louisville's Brian Brohm are the only quarterbacks with a legitimate chance of going in the first round. Brohm looks like a serviceable QB, maybe something similar to veteran Brad Johnson — a solid QB that you can win with, but not the kind of guy that leads you to a Super Bowl.

Woodson, to me, looks lke a guy that's holding a clipboard on the sideline, if he makes a team at all.

Sure, Woodson was a fine college quarterback. He has a nice touch, is accurate on short and medium passes and doesn't beat himself with bad throws or by trying to do too much. But he doesn't make the kind of throws an NFL quarterback has to make, the kind where you've got to get the ball through a defender or two to a receiver in traffic.

Give Joker Phillips credit. Phillips, UK's offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting, designed an offense that took advantage of what Woodson could do and didn't ask him to do things he wasn't capable of doing. Woodson threw a lot of safe, short passes, but he will be asked to do much more on Sundays.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hoop Fest alumni

More testament to just how big an event Marshall County's Hoop Fest has become ... there were five players in key roles on Final Four teams that made an appearance at Reed Conder Gymnasium.

Memphis had point Derrick Rose (Chicago Simeon) and reserve guard Willie Kemp (Bolivar, Tenn.).

Kansas had backup guard Sherron Collins (Chicago Crane).

North Carolina's best two players — Tyler Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) and Tywon Lawson (Oak Hill Academy) — were watched by Tar Heels coach Roy Williams on their visits to Marshall County.

North Carolina had another Hoop Fest alum on its roster — Will Graves, who played for the Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley team that lost to the Chris Lofton-led Mason County squad in 2003.

Memphis had backup point guard Andre Allen, who was suspended for the Final Four and played at Hoop Fest for Memphis' Booker T. Washington. Widebody reserve Pierre Niles is another Memphis native and starred for Ridgeway, but he had transferred to a prep school in Florida by the time Ridgeway made its first Hoop Fest visit in 2005.