Saturday, September 6, 2008

My first taste of Florida football

Maybe it's pathetic, but I watched a high school football game on TV last night (yeah, Fridays aren't as exciting for me as they used to be).

The game was right here, in Tampa, between Armwood and Plant, a couple of nationally ranked teams from the area who have developed something of a rivalry. The top-ranked recruits in the game were Plant QB Aaron Murray, who has already committed to Georgia, and Armwood DE Ryne Giddins, one of the nation's top defensive ends.

Armwood won 9-2 in a really, really sloppy defensive struggle but here's one man's opinion on the blue-chippers involved in the proceedings: Giddins is definitely the real deal and Murray, who finished 17-for-36 for 200 yards and was sacked six times, looked pretty awful.

It's tough to know if it was the fault of his porous offensive line but even when he had time to throw, Murray repeatedly underthrew and overthrew receivers. Murray showed a complete lack of touch on many of his passes and, overall, didn't show a lot of fight when things got tough, which was pretty much from the first offensive series of the game. Georgia fans can't be too excited after that performance.

Meanwhile, Giddins reminded me of all those dynamic defensive ends that Florida State had when Bobby Bowden still bothered with coaching. Giddins chased Murray from sideline to sideline, bowled over much-larger offensive linemen (on one play he pretty much toppled an offensive tackle with a simple shove) and pretty much looked like a "helmeted Godzilla wreaking havoc on innocent teenagers," to borrow a line from Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy. When I see Giddins, I'm reminded of Peter Boulware. As Bushwick Bill might say, now that's a creep that I be seeing in my sleep.

I think I'm really going to enjoy my first football season in Florida. I feel like I've made my pilgrimage to the Gridiron Mecca.

* I had to provide a link to this great story about one of Giddins' teammates, Man-Man Jackson. My colleague, John Cotey, did an awesome job with this one.

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