Thursday, June 28, 2007

Little guy decides not to go to Japan

On the day after the day that all-world 2008 quarterback recruit EJ Manuel announced his intentions to commit to Florida State rather than to LSU, I'm going to accentuate the positive. Sure, Manuel is arguably the best overall prospect in the country at a position where we desperately need to sign a quality recruit. I know that. I just... want to talk about something else. If you want more discussion of the Manuel recruitment, there are plenty of places where you can find quality, in-depth discussion (if by "quality, in-depth" it is meant "profane, trite").

Instead, let's talk about Trindon Holliday. Trindon Holliday is really really fast. Off course, he's more than just fast, but let's focus on the fast for just a second. He's so fast, he scored a silver medal in the 100 meters at the USA Championships and was invited to something called the Athletic Federations World Championships in Osaka, Japan. It was a huge accomplishment and a tremendous honor to be invited to participate in that.

The problem? To be involved in the World Championships, Trindon would have to miss all of fall practice and the first several games of the season. It would almost end Trindon's season as a football player. Let's then talk about the other thing Trindon Holliday does well: play football.

Sure, his football career got off to an ignominious start when he muffed a punt the first time he stepped on the field. However, he really developed from there into a dynamic offensive and special-teams weapon. While he never got back on the punt return team, and never caught a pass, he played running back, ran reverses from the slot position, and returned kickoffs. He averaged a whopping 12 yards per carry running the ball, and scored a spectacular and crucial touchdown against Arkansas on a kickoff return.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a YouTube video that isolated the Trindon Holliday kickoff return, but here's one where it shows up at the 2:02 mark.

It really is incredible. He took the ball, set up behind the wall, let the hole develop, and he EXPLODED through it. He changed speeds instantly and no one even got close to him after that. I really think we might well have lost that game if not for Trindon. Arkansas was taking the momentum following a spectacular 80 yard touchdown by McFadden, but Trindon took it right back and gave us a two-score lead again.

And he was a true freshman. It remains to be seen if Trindon develops as a receiver to the point where he can be more involved in the offense. He's only about 5'5", which makes him almost a foot shorter than many of our wide receivers, and it is difficult for a QB to find him downfield through the lines and the coverage. He's going to have to figure out how to get himself into position where the QB can get him the ball. Otherwise, he'll top out at the reverse-runner, return man, outside runner he was last year.

Oh but what a good reverse-runner, return man, and outside runner he can be. And I'm glad we get to find out if he can develop.

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