JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Feb. 8, 2015

Super Bowl

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to John Riggins …

JOHNNY REHAB: I don’t know how the Johnny Manziel story will play out. That is solely up to him. The Browns first round draft pick is currently undergoing addiction treatment at a facility in Ohio.

Manziel voluntarily entered the program, but did not disclose which addiction he is battling. Most believe his main addiction is alcohol.

I would hope that Manziel is not undergoing rehabilitation as a means to not lose his football future. If that’s the reason, it’s likely he will just go through the motions in order to save his job, not realizing how difficult it is to truly experience a life changing point in his life.

Addiction or not, Manziel is nowhere close to becoming an elite NFL quarterback. He has not displayed a work ethic necessary to be successful at his position.

As Texans defensive end J.J. Watt put it to Titans rookie Zach Mettenberger, the NFL is not college football. It is your job, a job that has numerous demands. At Texas A&M, Manziel flourished due to a strong supporting cast and his ability to buy time with his legs. That won’t work at the NFL level.

PREDATORS HIT BUMP: Yes, the Predators walked into an ambush at home Thursday, but there is no reason to panic. It was the first time in three weeks since All-Star goalie Pekka Rinne played. He was sidelined with a sprained knee.

As solid and dependable as Rinne is, you can’t expect him to be sharp, especially against a team like Anaheim, who posted a 5-2 win at the ‘Stone. It was 4-0 before you could finish your popcorn. The Ducks were quicker to the puck Thursday, and the Preds saw their nine game home win streak vanish.

The Predators got off to an impressive start this season and have maintained a level of play that should propel them into the playoffs. It’s amazing how much difference the off-season coaching change made. General Manager David Poile made a difficult decision personally to fire the only coach the Preds ever had in Barry Trotz. But it was time for a change and Peter Laviolette has been a perfect fit for what this franchise needed.

Trotz depended heavily on defense and strong goalie play while Laviolette is much more offensive minded and runs a fast-paced style that is more player and fan friendly. Barring critical injuries, I can see this year’s Preds going deep in the playoffs.

With many of the different area college and pro teams having disappointing seasons, the Preds are by far the best bang for your buck.

“PINOCCHIO’’ PETRINO: I suspect Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino’s nose grew noticeably on National Signing Day.

Matt Colburn is a 3-star running back from South Carolina. Last June, Colburn gave a verbal commitment to Petrino and the Cardinals. Now, Petrino’s past history of lying is well documented.

So we shouldn’t be shocked that two days before Wednesday’s National Signing Day, Petrino yanked his offer right out from under Colburn. This happened despite Colburn’s steadfast commitment to Louisville.

Petrino didn’t even have the nerve to call Colburn personally. He handed it off to a Louisville assistant coach who told Colburn his scholarship offer was withdrawn in order for Louisville to sign a defensive back.

They did offer to let Colburn grayshirt, which means he would sit out of school until a year from now and then go on scholarship. He declined and is considering Marshall, Navy, Furman, Wake Forest and Georgia Southern.

Colburn’s high school coach was furious and won’t allow Louisville coaches to recruit at their school in the future.

A WEEK LATER: Football fans won’t let Super Bowl XLIV die. Seattle Coach Pete Carroll’s decision to throw a risky pass in the middle of the field from the Patriots’ one-yard line continues to be dissected ad nausea.

It will go down in Super Bowl history as the most debated call in Super Bowl annals. There is no right answer, but the play called by Carroll proved to be the wrong answer. It’s the best second guess play, perhaps ever.

I know running back Marshawn Lynch was successful only one in five times from the one yard line during the season. But this was the Super Bowl. This might have been Lynch’s final Super Bowl. He deserved at least one shot to make 36 inches. If that failed, the Seahawks had a timeout and had several options, either running or passing.

I would have used quarterback Russell Wilson fake a handoff to Lynch, bootleg out of the pocket and have a pass-run option. Wilson evaded Patriots’ defenders the whole game.

This debate will endure until next season, maybe beyond.

VOLS ROLL ON SIGNING DAY:  Tennessee football coach Butch Jones’ brick by brick building project is alive and well on Rocky Top. Most outlets that rank recruiting classes have the Vols in the top five.

A half dozen of those signees hail from the Mid-State and Jones was at Nashville’s LP Field Thursday to emphasize how important this area is to the Vols’ future.

The Vols are projected as a 2015-16 preseason top 25 pick. That would be based on their bowl performance and the latest recruiting class.

There are ample examples of how inaccurate ranking high school football players can be. I go back to J.J. Watt, the closest NFL defensive player to be in the MVP discussion.

He warned high school players not to hang their hats on how many stars they have beside their name, how many TV cameras showed up at their high schools to record their school of choice. He is right. All these different college baseball hat shell games some of these prima donnas engage in is just another example of how coddled some of these high school players are.

Watt tweeted that he had a 2-star ranking in high school. I’d say he proved his worth on the field, and got there with hard work, not press clippings.

FIVE STAR FLOPS: Among some memorable high school five star football recruits that failed to live up to expectations is former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain from the 2006 recruiting class.

Mustain started out leading his team to an 8-0 record in his freshman season. But he was replaced with the more experienced Casey Dick.

Mustain was one of those players who were showered with national love from recruiting service and fans. He transferred to Southern Cal where he played sparingly from 2008-10.

A more recent flop was quarterback Ryan Perriloux, who signed with LSU in the 2011 recruiting class. He replaced the injured Matt Flynn and helped the Tigers win the 2011 SEC Championship Game.

Perriloux never regained his job at LSU, was suspended twice and ended up at Jacksonville (Ala.) State. You don’t hear anything about him today.

Alabama offensive tackle Tyler Love was a 5-star offensive tackle that played three seasons for the Tide and saw action in only 13 games with no starts. He did not return for his senior season after doctors diagnosed a neck injury.

Florida had a 5-star defensive tackle, Gary Brown, in its 2009 class. Brown red-shirted his first year and was booted from the team after two misdemeanor battery charges. He never played on a major college football program.

Tennessee’s Chris Donald was a highly touted national recruit as one of the top inside linebackers in the country. He redshirted in 2007, played sparingly in 2008 and played seven games in 2009, mainly on special teams. He left the team before the Chik-Fil-A Bowl and played one season for Chattanooga.

I want to thank you for being a 5-star audience.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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