Thursday, April 27, 2006

Damn you!... Mallett?

A confusing cry, to be sure. One that may just ring out through my living room on many a fall Saturday. Or may not. Perhaps an old standby will stay, the cry that has sustained me through many a football game:

Damn you Navarre!
Ah, it feels good to type it. I haven't had cause to say it in far too long (since the Alamo Bowl, to be exact). Why am I damning Navarre, you might ask? What has he done to make me hate him so?
I don't hate Navarre. Far from it, he's one of my favorite players in quite some time. He's responsible for one of my alltime favorite plays (more on that later).
But he's a good scape-goat. In his seasons as a starter, you could often find fault in his play. He was a good player, to be sure, but he had his fair share of plays which were damnable. It's now become a running joke amongst my football buddies and I, responding to any bone-headed play during a Michigan with a good damning of Navarre.
Breaston drops an easy pass?
-Damn you Navarre!
Hart slips up while making a cut towards daylight?
-Damn you Navarre!
Woodley blows a tackle?
-Damn you Navarre!
Navarre was everything I love in a quarterback. Massive. Untackleable. An arm like a cannon. Slow, ponderous steps that made my room shake all the way over here in East Lansing. He was... he was... he was Navarresque. What is perhaps my alltime favorite play exemplified this.
The situation was the Minnesotta game in 2003. The 100th anniversary of the Little Brown Jug. Michigan was down 14-0 going into the second half. Navarre threw a lateral to Breaston, to whom defenders began to swarm as he cut towards the left side-line. Moments later, Breaston stopped, turned, and fired a pass back to Navarre, who was on the right edge of the field where most of the offensive line was forming a wall. Navarre caught the pass and lumbered, each giant step shaking the foundations of the Metrodome, 36 yards to score a touchdown. Oh, how I wish I had that play on tape. It's one that I could watch all day.
I was saddened by the loss of Navarre to the NFL. Now, Henne is fine and all, but he simply isn't very Navarresque.
Two days ago, I received news that lifted my heart. A kid named Ryan Mallett had committed to Michigan. As one who doesn't follow recruiting, I was initially indifferent. Then I began to read the newspaper articles and blog posts on him.
Once threw an 81 yard pass.
Can throw 40-50 yards from a standstill.
Throws so hard he breaks receivers hands.
Completely incapable of running.
It was like a dream come true. This guy seemed to have the potential to be the most Navarresque QB Michigan has ever seen! The timing couldn't be more perfect either. Mallett's freshmen season will coincide with Henne's senior year, allowing him to get a handle on the offense before being given the reigns as a sophmore and unleashing such a swath of devestation upon defensive backs (not to mention the dislocated shoulders of linebackers who attempt to tackle this giant of a man) thatMike Leach will give up on his passing attack and run soley direct snaps to his RBs for the rest of his days.
So welcome Ryan Mallett. I look forward to championships won by you. I look forward to your Navarresqueness. I look forward to maybe, someday, damning you.


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