Awhile back I stumbled upon the blogging and television exploits of one Whit Watson. Who is Whit Watson? He's a television host for the Sun Sports cable network and sometimes blogger. Whit's an intelligent guy---Cornell educated---and sometimes talks in concepts, which I love.
I found one particular theme of his quite interesting: Artists and Mechanics.
In short, I believe that the world is split into two groups: Artists and Mechanics. Some might call it right-brain and left-brain, but I think Artists and Mechanics is much more lyrical and descriptive. Artists tend to be big-picture types, unconcerned with mundane details. They're strong on the "why," but weaker on the "how." Process is irrelevant; experience is everything...
...A Mechanic, on the other hand, thrives on process. The "how" supercedes the "why." Details bring joy. Learning how to accomplish a new task is a thrill...
...Artists need Mechanics, and vice versa. One cannot survive without the other.
In his entry, he uses the NBA and the Kobe/Shaq synergy (well, sometimes) to flesh out the concept. It's an interesting read, but I wanted to project that onto the world of college football. Now that the season's over, I figured it's a good time to make a run at this.
Below you will find my thoughts on some of college football's artists and mechanics. I've asked Whit to participate and respond, so I will forward this entry to him today and hopefully sometime soon we can get his responses to some of these.
Please note that I'm focusing mostly on the BCS conference teams, coaches, and players. I thought about non-BCS involvement on this list and it would make a great follow-up, but I don't want to go overboard right away.
What better place to start than looking at the artists and mechanics in the two Rose Bowl combatants, USC and Texas? For the national champs, I think Vince Young is very much the artist. The throwing motion is a dead giveaway. No honest mechanic quarterback would ever get away with throwing the ball like that he'd be so desperate to throw the conventional way. Also, watch how Young runs the ball. Yeah he's big and broke tackles, but he also glides across the field. Artist. Young's carefree approach rubbed off on his coach. Before this year, I would have said Mack Brown's a mechanic, diligently recruiting, hobnobbing with boosters, building up the program. But Young transformed him into an artist. Brown loosened up, put some 50 Cent in his iPod, and started to delegate. So who is the mechanic in all this? None other than first-year Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik. Chizik was a taskmaster and drill sergeant for Texas' defense and made all the difference in Texas' ascent.
As for USC, my responses may be surprising. Despite his creativity and style on the field, Reggie Bush is a mechanic all the way. The guy has always been a practice fiend and is hyper competitive. I grew up watching the Chicago Bulls' dynasty come to life, and I haven't seen anyone approach Michael Jordan's ability to change a game's fortune until Bush did it a half dozen times in 2004 and another half dozen in 2005. Same thing goes for Pete Carroll. He's a workaholic. USC's hidden artist is LenDale White. By most accounts, White isn't a practice fanatic. He's a tough runner, but there's a style to his efforts as well.
Here are some other names, and where I'd categorize them. Feel free to respond below with your own suggestions and revisions.
- Urban Meyer, Florida coach-Mechanic, big time. There's artistry in his offense but all the guy ever talks about is hard work. A process wonk
- Mark Richt, Georgia coach-Mechanic
- Erik Ainge, Tennessee quarterback-Artist
- Tommy Tuberville, Auburn coach-Artist
- Alabama-Mechanic. The entire team. They desperately need some artists
- Houston Nutt, Arkansas coach-artist
- Joe Tiller, Purdue coach-Artist
- Jim Tressel, Ohio State coach-Mechanic
- Troy Smith, Ohio State quarterback-Mechanic
- Ted Ginn, Jr., Ohio State receiver-Artist. Easy call!
- Kirk Ferentz, Iowa coach-Mechanic
- Drew Tate, Iowa quarterback-Artist
- Drew Stanton, Michigan State quarterback-Mechanic
- Glen Mason, Minnesota coach-Artist. This one took a while. He has a monolothic and powerful rush offense, but the rest of his team is neglected. That run attack is his passion, his Mona Lisa, his gift to the world. He's a fantastic artist
- Randy Walker, Northwestern coach-Another tough call. His offense is very much an artist's offense, but look where he's from and where he recruits: Ohio. His kids are not very talented but that's when you have to become a practice/repetition nut to get a fancy offense to work with substandard talent and that's clearly the case. Mechanic
- Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech coach-Mechanic. I'm still unsure on this one. He's a little bit of everything.
- Florida State offense-Artist.
- Florida State defense-Mechanic. Mickey Andrews=Mechanic.
- Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma back-Artist
- Rhett Bomar, Oklahoma quarterback-Artist
- Jeff Tedford, California coach-Mechanic
- Sam Keller, Arizona State quarterback-Artist
- Rudy Carpenter, Arizona State quarterback-Mechanic
- Karl Dorrell, UCLA coach-Mechanic. Military upbringing and approach. Problem is, in a bizarre act of self-denial, he recruits artists and schemes like one
- Bobby Petrino, Louisville coach-Artist
- Brian Brohm, Louisville quarterback-Mechanic
- Mike Bush, Louisville back-Artist
- Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia coach-Artist
- Greg Schiano, Rutgers coach-Mechanic
- Charlie Weis, Notre Dame coach-Mechanic
- Mike Price, UTEP coach-Artist
- Steve Kragthorpe, Tulsa coach-Artist
- Jared Zabransky, Boise State quarterback-Artist
- Rest of Zabransky's teammates-Mechanics