Archive for the ‘The Trevor Laws Heisman Campaign’ Category

Snubbed

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Let me just say that this, from SB Tribune writer (and AP All-America voter) Eric Hansen via Irish Band of Brothers, is a bunch of crap:

I think Trevor [Laws] had an amazing year and his numbers were better than most defensive tackles. But in ND’s system, they labeled him as an end. And in that light, his numbers didn’t compare. We could not just simply vote for defensive linemen. We had to vote for two tackles and two ends on the first and second teams. (We did not vote for the third team or honorable mention — those selections came from the points system associated with the voting).

In the first place, while it’s TECHNICALLY true that the 2007 ND depth chart lists Laws’s position as “LDE,” everyone knows that his responsibilities in the 3-4 were largely those of a defensive tackle. Secondly, even if we consider Laws to have been a defensive end, why should the fact that he didn’t have a lot of sacks and tackles for a loss - which is basically what Hansen’s point boils down to (especially since Laws’s numbers were better than pretty much all of the other DE honorees in every other category) - make a difference? From what I understand about the the 3-4 defense, the strong-side defensive end is assigned run-stopping duties, and the outside linebackers handle more of the blitzes. Laws did a SPECTACULAR job in doing what he was asked to do: why didn’t he get credit for that?

Basically, what Hansen is telling us is that the current system makes it all but impossible for a defensive end in a 3-4 system to be considered for All-America honors. Would the same go for a quarterback whose passing yardage wasn’t even in the top 20 nationally but who ran for over 800 yards and 20 scores? Apparently not. Sorry Eric, but you’re going to have to do better than that.

[UPDATE: One more thing. Via Hey Jenny Slater, check out this individualized breakdown of where the Heisman votes went. What we see, of course, is lots of local sportswriters putting their hometown guys down on their ballots to get them some national recognition. I suppose I don't think this is the greatest thing in the world, but it's pretty much harmless and at the end of the day it's a nice way to get some attention paid to kids who are flying under the radar of the national hype machine. Was it really out of the question for guys like Hansen and Jeff Carroll to do the same for Laws, whether in their AA votes or even their Heisman ballots, after the season he had this year?]

Eff the AP

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

The 2007 Associated Press football All-America teams were announced on Tuesday, and guess what? Notre Dame’s Trevor Laws, who led the nation in tackles from the defensive line positions (and was the only defensive lineman ranked in the top 100, let alone the top 50), isn’t on the first team. No surprise there, though: that sort of honor doesn’t go to a relatively unknown player from a 3-9 football team, even if that team does happen to be Notre Dame. But most of us figured that his spectacular numbers and consistently solid performance on an undertalented defense would land him SOME sort of All-America status: and so what’s genuinely shocking is that Trevor is NOWHERE to be found on ANY of the three All-America teams.

[UPDATE: He's also not a first- or second-teamer, nor is he even one of the NINE defensive linemen who receives an honorable mention, on the Sports Illustrated AA list. So eff them, too.]

To give you a sense of the craziness of this, here’s a comparison of Laws’s 2007 statistics with the players who made the AP’s AA squads over him - I’ve included both defensive ends and defensive tackles (first-teamers in yellow, seconds in green, thirds in blue), since Laws played a sort of “tweener” role in the 3-4:

So there you have it folks. If the fiasco of last year’s Heisman “race” wasn’t enough for you, here’s some hard evidence that postseason awards are MEANINGLESS indicators of the quality of one’s on-the-field play.

Lest I be accused of being just another whiny homer making a case for his own guy, let me be clear that I felt very much the same way - and seem to recall saying as much - when Tom Zbikowski was named a second-team All-American after the 2006 season. That was all about hype and name recognition, and had basically nothing to do with what Zibby had and (mostly) hadn’t done on the football field that year. Is the snubbing of Laws a matter of just desserts for the overexposure of Notre Dame football in years past? Maybe. But it’s really a shame to see a season like the one that Trevor had this year go so wholly unnoticed on the national scene, ESPECIALLY given the less-than-ideal circumstances (you know, 3-9 record, historically awful offensive ineptitude, and so on) that surrounded it.

Congratulations to all the guys who made the AA teams. Obviously they had really good seasons, and deserved some serious recognition. It’s just a shame that Laws wasn’t able to get his due.

The Trevor Laws Heisman campaign begins … now

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Yeah, we all know it’s not going to happen, at least not if the powers that be have their way, which will ensure that college football’s most prestigious individual award goes to either a quarterback or a tailback from now until eternity. But in this season of upset wins, devastating losses, broken booty fingers, and the like, and with many sportswriters talking about how wide-open the Heisman race is this year, it’s worth at least making the case for one guy whom nobody’s talking about at all.

Let’s start, as we are wont to do here at the Roundup, with the numbers. Here’s a comparison of Trevor Laws’s season-long statistics with those of the players recently named quarterfinalists for the Lott trophy (yes, Tom Zbikowski is one of them, and Big Trevor isn’t … don’t get me started), which “honors the college football Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year” - while it claims to factor in some sort of off-the-field component, the list of nominees is a virtual who’s-who of big-name defensive players, and so it’s instructive to see how Laws stacks up against them:

The two players highlighted in yellow are the defensive players getting (somewhat) serious attention in the Heisman race: LSU defensive end Glenn Dorsey (see here, here, and especially here for writers who’ve promoted him) and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis (see here and here). By any reasonable measure, Laws looks to have been having a better defensive season than either of them: the only statistical categories he trails them in are sacks and - in the case of Laurinaitis - interceptions, and he’s nearly doubled Dorsey’s season-long tackle count. And yet, for all the talk about the media obsession with Notre Dame (and Zbikowski’s inclusion in the Lott award list is of course a shining example of this), when we look at the various Heisman polls (see here and here for a couple of examples), what we see are Dorsey and Laurinaitis often quite well-established in at least the “Also Receiving Votes” category, with Laws sharing the fate of the rest of his teammates.

Do I know that I’m pissing into the wind here? Of course I do. The Heisman Trophy - like all the rest of the postseason awards for which Laws won’t be in consideration - is determined by preseason hype and wins alone, as evidenced by the following (italicized numbers projected to 13-game season - click to enlarge):

Don’t despair, though. There’s something you can do. In case you’ve missed the commercials, this year YOU can help decide the Heisman winner! So head on over to Nissan’s Heisman Vote and make Big Trevor your write-in candidate. By my reckoning, the Roundup’s regular readership of a mere few hundred a day could easily get Laws onto the leaderboard, where Georgia Tech’s Tashard Choice currently occupies the bottom spot with just 169 ballots cast in his favor, good for less than 1% of the vote but still enough to get his name up there. (Heaven knows what would happen if the heavyweights *cough*BGS*cough* got behind this.) Together we can make a difference, and salvage one of the few bright spots from this wreck of a season.