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Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Keegan: In the year of the quarterback, only a handful can consider themselves … In the running

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing bides his time behind the protection of the offensive line as he looks to pass during the first half against the Buffaloes, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007 at Folsom Field in Boulder.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing bides his time behind the protection of the offensive line as he looks to pass during the first half against the Buffaloes, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007 at Folsom Field in Boulder.

November 14, 2007

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Teammate hoping to get Reesing recognized for Heisman

Nationally, Todd Reesing winning the Heisman Trophy still seems like a long-shot, but a grassroots effort may get underway for the Kansas quarterback thanks to one of his teammates. Enlarge video

B-Mac's big season a surprise to many

When Brandon McAnderson was recruited, he was brought in as a fullback - a player to block for the running back and to gain extra yardage here and there. However, the senior has excelled at the running back position and is only 61 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing this season. Enlarge video

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Take three steps back, seven steps to the left, 11 steps back to the right, five steps forward, seven steps back to the left and one more step forward. And do it all in 10.6 seconds.

Congratulations. You have just done the Reesing Shuffle. For a video demonstration of the dance created by Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing before he threw across his body, a la John Elway, for a 34-yard completion to Dexton Fields on Saturday night in Stillwater against Oklahoma State, visit this YouTube link.

Come to think of it, since all modern culture runs through YouTube, tell 100 friends to tell 100 of their friends to visit YouTube to view his Fran Tarkenton-like scramble. That way, maybe it can become the most viewed video of the day and will be offered up to everyone who visits the site. Since that pretty much is every member of society, Heisman Trophy voters are sure to see one of Reesing's finest moments and hear the call of veteran broadcaster Brent Musburger: "Here's Reesing, picks up a block, still looking for someone, moving hard to the right, avoids a tackle, shades of Doug Flutie, and then completes the pass to Dexton Fields. How about that! That would make Mr. Flutie proud back there in the studio."

Doug Flutie won the Heisman Trophy in 1984, the year Douglas S. Looney of Sports Illustrated wrote, as quoted on Heisman.com: "Flutie has three things going for him on the football field: Spontaneity, brains and optimism."

Is that not a perfect description of what Reesing has going for him?

Color analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who endorsed Reesing for Heisman consideration during the broadcast, mentioned after that play how Reesing "does a great job of keeping his focus downfield and throwing the football."

He's been doing that since he ripped off the redshirt and rallied KU to a comeback victory against Colorado in 2006.

Fields has come to expect it of Reesing.

"That's Todd," Fields said. "That's why he's worked well for us this year. He can scramble and make plays outside of the pocket. I thought he was going to get tackled, but he slipped out of it some way, and he was coming toward me, and we just use our scramble rules, and that's how he found me."

Reesing's statistics rank right up there with the best in the nation, yet stats are only part of the equation. A look at how he has elevated a team that went 6-6 a year ago strengthens his candidacy.

As for stats, the best ones to evaluate quarterbacks are won-loss record, yards per pass attempt, interception percentage and touchdown percentage. Rushing statistics figure into the equation as well.

In this, the year of the quarterback - not even Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden is having a Heisman-level season - here is a look at the most deserving Heisman candidates, listed in order of their worthiness, not in order of how likely they are to win the award first won by University of Chicago's Jay Berwanger in 1935:

1. Dennis Dixon, Oregon

Record: 9-1; Yards per attempt: 8.43; Interception pct.: 1.22; Touchdown pct.: 8.13; Rushing: 549 yards, eight touchdowns.

He's going to be tough to defeat, particularly if the Ducks keep winning. He makes big plays passing and running and takes great care of the football.

2. Tim Tebow, Florida

Record: 7-3; Yards per attempt: 9.9; Interception pct.: 1.96; Touchdown pct.: 9.02; Rushing: 718 yards and 19 touchdowns.

He's a quarterback, a tailback and a short-yardage back rolled into one. Except for the three losses, his numbers are the best in the nation.

3. Reesing

Record: 10-0; Yards per attempt: 7.93; Interception pct.: 1.2; Touchdown pct.: 7.78; Rushing: 197 yards, one touchdown.

As shown by the pass that Marcus Henry turned into an 82-yard touchdown, Reesing isn't afraid to throw into tight spots. Given that, his active streak of 179 consecutive passes without an interception is freaky. Reesing always keeps his eyes on the target, whether he's scrambling or preparing for a lesser opponent, such as improving Iowa State.

4. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma

Record: 9-1; Yards per attempt: 9.5; Interception pct.: 2.27; Touchdown pct.: 10.61. Rushing: Negative-1 yard, no touchdown.

Has the highest TD percentage of the contenders and is second only to Tebow in yards per attempt. Throws an interception nearly twice as frequently as Reesing, but that's still not bad.

5. Patrick White, West Virginia

Record: 8-1; Yards per attempt: 8.07; Interception pct.: 1.29; Touchdown pct.: 7.1. Rushing: 803 yards, 10 touchdowns.

He's not as effective a passer as the others on this list, but he's the best runner, averaging 6.7 yards per rush.

6. Chase Daniel, Missouri

Record: 9-1; Yards per attempt: 8.16; Interception pct.: 2.22; Touchdown pct.: 6.42; Rushing: 248 yards, three touchdowns.

Simply because he made a name for himself last season, Daniel's Heisman talk is louder than Reesing's. The numbers don't support that, though. Reesing has a lower interception rate and higher touchdown rate than similarly undersized, mobile Daniel.

Meanwhile, Reesing is leaving the Heisman talk to others.

"To be even mentioned for an award like that is unbelievable," Reesing said. "I'm not worried about it because all I can do is get ready for this next game and play the best I can, and if things like that at the end of the season happen, that would be tremendous and unbelievable, but I'm not worried about that now."

Neither is Reesing's coach.

"That's fine," Mark Mangino said of Herbstreit's Reesing-for-Heisman talk. "Anytime they mention one of our kids with personal honors I'm excited about it. But that's not what propels us and that's not what propels Todd. I think winning is the thing the kids want to do most because that's something that every kid on the team is invested in. The more success our team has, the more opportunities there are for individual honors. If they win them, it would be awesome, but that's just not what motivates us. It's winning more than anything."

Needless to say, Reesing would rather win four more games in a row than win the most prestigious individual award in college athletics.

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