Good God, HeismanPundit's on a roll lately. Between stops at the
ATM and calls for revolution, he has this terrific entry about the fastest players in the NCAA, grouping them into two categories---actual times and perceptively who is fastest.
Actual time winner---LSU's Xavier Carter, an EASY call. Sorry Reggie Bush fans.
Perceptive winner---Ohio State's Ted Ginn. Nice point about his unusual gait ("he has a unique running style that betrays his hurdling background---head down and in a crouch").
HP knows his running and speed stuff, obviously, adding analysis of players' styles and strides ("Ginn
is a gazelle, Devin Hester is a jaguar. He has the rare ability
to maintain his speed for the entire length of the football field").
And another golden nugget---the younger bucks like Ted Ginn are not
as far along in the wear and tear department, giving them a slight nod
over the more banged up warriors like Reggie Bush and Adrian
Peterson. Football players naturally lose speed over time,
although a handful can maintain their speed through their careers
better than others. So as a very gentle rule of thumb, a guy like
Ted Ginn will never be as fast in college as during the first day he
hit the field his freshman season. Every play after that,
assuming little actual speed development, he's adding hits and thus
subtracting from his speed. That and things like lifting weights
and body mass without necessarily training for speed also subtract from
I witnessed a lengthy (somewhere near two hours) argument between
four track-savvy, football-savvy folks in January that highlighted many
of these concepts. The sticking point appeared to be that players
couldn't get faster than when they came in. Obviously that's not
100% true, but football training is different than training for the 100
meters or 200 meters, in that football players are generally adding
mass and muscle, while track guys are doing different muscle focus for
weights and not adding the same kind of mass. Things got fairly
into the nitty gritty, and so I'll kind of drop off from here.
The bigger picture is, speed often makes for a great football
player, just look at the names HP mentioned. Not a bad bunch of
guys, right? Measurables do matter, in our book.