“My lord, that boy has a mama!”
FORTWORTH, TX – That’s what the lady in front of us said when an Oklahoma defensive lineman walked past our tailgating crowd on his way into the locker room before the game versus TCU.
And yep…they are growin’ em’ bigger now a days. Bigger & Better. But are Massive Players Bad For Sports?
Not so long ago, 250 lbs. was a decent size for an NFL center. Now…they are gimongus creatures, all tipping the scales at 300 or better on the offensive line.
Defense is even scarier because the modern defensive lineman is going about 280+ AND is athletic enough to run a good 40 and high jump over stuff like a bar stool, small car or annoying running backs. Players like Jason Paul-Pierre and the rest of Big Blue defensive line are just complete freaks of nature.
And down on the farm, where they be growin’ em’ for future play during high school ball, it’s the same story. High school linemen routinely average 270+ from tackle to tackle at the larger division school. And that’s not just here in Tejas, where everything tends to be…uh…bigger. Looking at the high school rosters up North, you get the same story.
It’s like Gothra bred with Godzilla to create a race of humongous football playing people.
Now, I understand that some may ask – post-Sanduskuy – “Why the heck are you looking at high school rosters?” It’s logistics. The local sports cognoscente down here talk about what important to them. With our local mercenaries out of the hunt for the pro enchilada, the Final Four and Baseball still a few months away and no interest whatsoever in the NBA or NHL, they are focused on one thing… Recruitin’.
After all, this is the place that for years had the storied Southwest Conference which, along with its brethren the SEC, pretty much is responsible for most of the current draconian NCAA rules around recruiting malfeasance.
Why can’t recruits get a part time job on campus? Because boosters back in the good ol’ days of the SWC used to pay them for no show jobs.
Restrictions on meal money? Yep, another area fully exploited by the SWC by giving kids enough cash to buy a new car and calling it hamburger cash. The SWC was so crooked it made the neighboring state of Louisiana look good by comparison. And in the end all the cheating and rule-breaking ended up destroying that conference.
But that does not mean that the good folks who follow college ball have lost their taste for recruiting down here. So we talk about, compare, size up and evaluate the local and national gridiron talent. All of the major newspapers start printing lists of the area, state and national Top 100 Prospects, including updates on their commitments as well as full states on size, speed, and so on (curiously, SAT and ACT scores are not included in this mix..go figure).
Local bar stool conversation revolves around who’s going where and who out recruited who:
Did Texas get its usual rich haul?
Will Gary Patterson at TCU do his usual awesome job of picking up some overlooked talent?
Will Tech suck wind because their coach left?
Can the Aggies replace the two top draft pick tackles that protected Johnny Football so well this year?
Given that most of the lucre has been taken out of the equation, other factors are used to woo the kids coming here. Facilities, coaching ties and overall program reputation matter.
Smoking hot chicks that make it clear that they really, really dig football players don’t hurt wither.
So here’s to the recruiting season. And counting down the days to pitchers and catchers.
Bigger is Better.