Thursday, January 13, 2005

Slumming at Harvard

Sigh.... the unique tortures of the Tulane fan. Irvin to Harvard? Instead of I-A? A chance to play weekly in a vacant dome? Or a metropolis like Hattiesburg? Mercy, but I’ll never understand the priority of these kids today.

You know, no LSU football coach in the history of the program has ever gone to sleep worrying that one of his players would leave him in the lurch by transferring to Harvard.

I am a little surprised at the general tone of coverage that Irvin’s departure does not matter- that it is sort of unimportant. One guy suggested that Irvin left because he is now the third quarterback here- but then further implies Irvin might play in the NFL one day. Heaven help us all. How can you possibly write first that a guy's departutre does not matter- then turn around and suggest he has an NFL career?

Bottom line, even leaving aside my conjecture that Irvin is really the best quarterback at Tulane, long term, for this “read it and throw it” offense Tulane runs, this is bad. There is no possible upside in the departure from your program of a quarterback that has shown conclusively he can play I-A, plainly has the best understanding of your offense and whose departure now thrusts into the role of back up two guys who have either conclusively proved to this point that they cannot play (Cannon) or have never played (Elliott). At this point, it is just a measure of how bad, not how good, this blow is.

Let me put it this way, if there were in Vegas an over/under for total regular season wins for college teams, similar to what the NFL franchises has, the Tulane number would have moved down a whole unit, maybe a unit and a half. 80% of I-A teams have their back-up quarterbacks take a significant numbers of snaps in season- and Tulane had a competent one just walk out the door.

Plus, I know Ricard is the heir apparent around here- but the potential #1 and #2 here was absolutely not going to be like 2001, where Ramsey was #1 and Losman #2, set in stone. I mean, did anyone other than me watch Ricard last year? Fact: He was bad to horrible in half his starts. Fact: He was bad to horrible in every single road game. Fact: He was bad against every single team that generated even vague pressure. Fact: He got hurt.

Had these scenarios played out next year, Irvin would have had every chance to come in and play a game like he did versus TCU. You know, that poised, gutsy start where Irvin made about one hundred great throws.

In short, any player move that forces Cannon to be key figure in Tulane’s fortunes is not good for this team. The best part of last year was thinking that Cannon was going to transfer to Nicholls, not Irvin to Harvard.

The only other rumored transfer that perturbs me is Ryan Johnson- who was, in the fall, the best young player for long stretches at DL that Tulane has had in awhile. I was shocked when he did not start the first game against MSU last year- as everyone who watched fall camp must have been. He started the second game- and then sort of mysteriously disappeared. I have no evidence, but I imagine there must be more to this story than meets the eye- but it is disappointing. He was a very watchable kid on the field- who would not have looked out of place in the future playing in the Big 12. It is a shame to lose him.