Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is Fat the Way to NCAA Glory?


Greetings Coug Nation! Hope you are all set to enjoy a nice holiday weekend while we celebrate the birth of this great nation.

I am lifting this from Colin Cowherd's ESPN radio show, but he made a point today that bears some thought. If you haven't heard, they released the list of the fattest states in the country. Have you seen the list?


It's striking for one big thing - since 2006, nine of the "top" ten obese states are in the south. Mississippi is in the lead, with Alabama closing in. In other words, red states = fat states.

Why does this even matter? Well, think about the SEC for a moment. What are they known for? Speed, for one thing. They have tremendous speed, especially on defense, throughout the SEC. But the bigger thing they have over most other conferences in America? SIZE. The SEC's linemen on offense and especially defense are huge, among the biggest in the country. And compared to the PAC-10? It's an eye-opener. Just check out the average size of some of these starting SEC d-lines:

LSU: 281.75 pounds
Florida: 286.25 pounds
Alabama: 287 pounds
Ole Miss: 287.5 pounds

Now, check out some of the average size of some of the PAC-10's starting d-lines:

USC: 282.5 pounds
Cal: 292.75 pounds

Hang on a second. USC and Cal are actually BIGGER than the touted SEC powerhouses? It's true. But, they are also the exception to the rule. USC is on another level obviously. They are an NFL pipeline, and produce NFL-ready defensive linemen from all over the country. And they own the state of California, where the biggest, best of the best usually go to Troy. And Cal has changed to a 3-4 exclusively, and that calls for bigger defensive linemen (particularly defensive ends). They also have a wide recruiting net right now, so the numbers are going to be bigger for their starting d-line.

But where you start to see the separation are with the rest of the conference, especially where they play a 4-3 defense...and ESPECIALLY in the northwest! Check out these d-lines:

Oregon: 260.50 pounds
Oregon State: 264.75 pounds
Washington: 277.75 pounds (note - this includes 348-pound defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu. The rest of the starting linemen are under 270).
Finally, WSU: 271 pounds.

Now, of course, the defensive lines don't play against each other. It's not like Oregon's D-line has to face off against Florida's D-line. And some of these schools feature speed-over-brawn. Remember WSU's top defenses this decade had converted outside linebackers as defensive end, like Isaac Brown and DD Acholonu. Both those guys were barely 230, and that's half the starting d-line.

But it is interesting to see the differences, where the SEC lines are approaching an average of 290 pounds, while the NW schools are between 260 and 275 or so.

Think it's any coincidence that the heaviest regions produce the heaviest players? Where fit states like Washington and Oregon (both tied for 28th in the country in obesity) have some of the smaller defensive linemen? What's also amazing is to think about the size of Mississippi and compare it to Oregon. Oregon produces only a handful of D-1 prospects every year, while Mississippi might produce 30 in any given year. Both states have about the same population (roughly 3.5 million people). Yet Mississippi is the fattest state in the country. There is no comparison. It's a huge difference (literally).

It makes you wonder if there is any hope, nationally, for the NW schools. Do they have to try and dip into regions where they normally don't, hoping to get some of the 300-pounders and try to compete? Or do they do what Wulff has tried recently, getting the 250-lb kids with great frames, and then try and add the "right" thirty, forty, even fifty pounds over time? I guess when you are recruiting kids from your base who are going to be on the smaller side, yet you want to compete, you pretty much have to search for those desirable frames that can see added weight without destroying the player's mobility and speed!

The thing to watch around here will be when LSU comes to Seattle to open the season vs. UW. Football players usually lose some weight as the season wears on, but out of the chute, even after training camp, the lines should be at their heaviest.


Just watch the game or even catch the highlights from that opener, and use the 'ol eyeball test. LSU will come at you in waves of near-300-pounders up front, and over the course of four quarters, that size difference can wear teams down.

Finally, they are making news in the athletic department again.


Yep, ticket sales and donations are down. Yep, we're poor. Yep, the economy sucks. Yep, we need to get the stadium renovation done. Rinse. Repeat. Per the article:

Fiscal year 2009 came to an end Tuesday, and the WSU Athletic Foundation forecasts a $1.5 million drop in donations from last year’s record total of $8.26 million. Final numbers have yet to be calculated.

Donors dropped from 6,200 to 5,500 in one year. WSU already had the fewest athletic donors and donation dollars in the Pacific-10 Conference.

We've heard it before, and we'll keep hearing this message until things change. I hope we can do our part around here, but so far, we still don't have anything to announce (I know, I know).

That's it for today. Enjoy it, enjoy your weekend, and as always..GO COUGS!


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good story today. Where you see biggest differences is not even the starters but the entire line. That is where the weight is a big change. Sec backups are still near the 300 bills where Pac-10 guys are your smaller younger type. Get some injuries and pac 10 teams are in trouble where Alabama can reload with another 300+.

Anonymous said...

Oregon had the second best run D in conference, and recorded the most sacks. Maybe pounds aren't everything.

trojan man said...

But how did the Ducks do against SC and Cal? Those are the closest SEC type schools Oregon faced last year.

KopravicaHater said...

Saw this and hoped I wasn't dreaming. Could it be? Then read the article and found out it was only temporary.

DAMN it.

http://www.dailyevergreen.com/story/29002#

Sean Hawkins said...

Sorry Kop-Hater. This too shall pass. :) Seriously, I hope he can improve his game. They will sure need a better version of Nikola next year.