BRIAN BROHM: SECOND BEST QB IN THE STATE OF KENTUCKY?
By Neil Bisman, NFL Draft Bible
When you think of Louisville, Kentucky, the first two things that come to mind are horse racing and college basketball. Approximately eighty miles east of Louisville sits the city of Lexington which is also known for, you guessed it, horse racing and college basketball. It should come as no surprise then that all eyes will be watching two thoroughbreds from the Bluegrass State this upcoming fall. The surprise is that in the land of ponies and pick and rolls, the two thoroughbreds in mind are the quarterbacks for the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.
The two thoroughbreds in mind, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson, are the types of quarterbacks that NFL scouts drool over. Both are large, hulking figures with rocket arms and pinpoint accuracy. Though no one is quite ready to crown either pocket passer as the next Peyton Manning, neither is going to be confused for Ryan Leaf anytime soon. Just about every publication and scouting service in America, including nfldraftbible.com, agrees that Brohm is the better prospect. But is it really that clear cut?
Brohm, whom currently sits at #2 on the 2008 Draft Bible Big Board, is your prototypical NFL quarterback. Listed at 6’4”, 224 pounds, the Heisman Trophy candidate has been drawing interest nationally for quite some time. A top prospect coming out of high school, he chose Louisville over Tennessee, Notre Dame and Kentucky. To go along with the size, physical tools and notoriety, Brohm also has the pedigree that many people around the NFL covet. Brohm is the fourth member of his family to play for the Cardinals, as his father Oscar and brothers’ Greg and Jeff have suited up in the red and black in years past.
The 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl MVP has also backed up all of the talk with his play on the field. Brohm is coming off of a year in which he led the Big East in total offense and passing yards per game, ranked eighth in the nation in passing yards per game and ninth nationally in both passing efficiency and total offense. He also holds the all-time Big East record with eleven career 300-yard passing games. As a result, he is a preseason candidate for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and was named the ’07 Playboy Preseason All-American Team. And in this age of technology, nothing would be complete without his own webpage promoting his accolades, BrianBrohm.info.
So what’s not to like about Brian Brohm? More than you may think. Brohm has had quite a bit of trouble staying healthy during his tenure at Louisville. He started the season last year recovering from knee surgery, followed that up by tearing ligaments in his right thumb and finished his season by suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder during the Orange Bowl. None of the effects appear to be lingering but it should certainly sound off an alarm. If Brohm is this injury prone at such a young age, it is doubtful that more things won’t pop up as he gets older. Some have also questioned whether or not he is a product of the passing-friendly system of former coach Bobby Petrino. Petrino has since moved on to become the coach of the Atlanta Falcons. If Brohm can have an injury-free season while replicating his numbers from years past, he should do a lot to quell any doubts that people may have.
Lurking in Brohm’s shadows is the highly underrated Andre Woodson. Woodson may not have the pedigree or the national acclaim of a Brian Brohm but make no mistake about it, the kid can play. Woodson single-handedly saved Kentucky coach Rich Brooks’ job last season after leading the Wildcats to an 8-5 record last season which included a victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl. Woodson capped off his great season by becoming the Music City Bowl MVP. While Woodson may not have the name value of a Brian Brohm, or even a John David Booty, Chad Henne or Colt Brennan, his numbers should be enough to open quite a few eyes. Woodson teamed up with another unheralded Kentucky star in wide receiver Keenan Burton and managed to finish first in the SEC in passing yards per game and total offense while finishing second in the SEC in passing efficiency. The numbers rank comparatively to Brohm nationally as well as he finished eleventh in the nation in passing yards per game, twelfth in total offense and thirteenth in passing efficiency.
Some people shutter at the thought of a top quarterback coming out of Kentucky because the taste of Tim Couch still lingers in the mouths of many. Those doubts are unwarranted though because while at Kentucky, Couch’s offensive coordinator was the then relatively unknown Mike Leach, whom you may now know as the head coach of the passing-happy Texas Tech Red Raiders. Woodson is also slightly larger than Brohm at 6’5” and 230 pounds, has all of the same physical tools and no previous history of injuries.
Naturally, as luck would have it, Brohm’s Louisville squad travels to Lexington to take on Woodson’s Kentucky Wildcats on September, 15th. The match-up takes place nearly eight months before the Kentucky Derby and a month before Midnight Madness so all eyes should be on the 2007 edition of the Government Cup, the trophy for which the two schools compete over each year. Louisville has won seven of the last ten games between these two schools, which dates back to the Tim Couch days, including the last four. Win or lose, a solid performance in the nationally televised contest should be enough to give Woodson some of the limelight he deserves and possibly even propel him into the discussion of first round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
In 1919, Kentucky-bred Man O’ War, one of the greatest horses of all time, lost to an underdog by the name of Upset. Urban legend has it that the term “upset,” which we use so often today, was born on this day as a term to use when a long-shot beats the favorite. Should Brian Brohm, the thoroughbred with the pedigree and bloodlines that are valued so much in horse racing, be surpassed by Andre Woodson as the better quarterback either this year or in the years to come, it will not be the “upset” than many would have you to believe.
Catch NFL Draft Bible Insider Neil Bisman all season long as he will be bringing you exclusive reports on College Football and the NFL Draft.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
BRIAN BROHM: SECOND BEST QB IN THE STATE OF KENTUCKY?
This is Shannon O'Keefe - your Notre Dame Insider for the 2007 season. I have two degrees from the University of Notre Dame (a double domer, for fellow ND Insiders). As an undergrad, I worked as an assistant in the Football Recruiting office through the Davie era and graduated in '99, then went back for my masters. I've been a compulsive college football fan since Rocket Ismail ran the field and continue to wait patiently for the summer to end and my real vacation to begin: football Saturdays.
I look forward to spending the season with you - analyzing the games, the players, the coaches, and discussing decisions made in the head office and on the field. From our 20-year contract extension with Michigan to Jimmy Clausen's (hopefully storied) opening season to Tom Zbikowski's renewed devotion to intimidating opponents on the field instead of the ring. It's going to be an exciting season so stick with us. Go Irish!
Have a craving for Notre Dame News? How about All Access into college football? Don't miss Shannon O'Keefe's exclusive reports as she delivers the inside scoop each week right here at College Football Insiders!
THE CAMPUS REPORT
By Brian Yu, NFL Draft Bible
Greetings! Writing from the greatest city in the world (NYC), welcome to the launch of the Michigan Campus Report! I’m a senior at the University of Michigan and as such, I’ll be reporting quite a bit about the Wolverines and Big Ten football. Eventually, I hope to be able to provide more than just predictions, evaluations, and recaps. So keep a look out for player interviews (*fingers crossed*), Q&A’s, and insider reports from around the country – straight from those who pack the stands every Saturday.
But for now, here’s a recap of last season, and a quick outlook at this upcoming fall.
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES 2006 RECAP
Following a disappointing 2005 season which saw many calling for Lloyd Carr’s dismissal – yours truly not included – the Wolverines put together a strong 2006 campaign, only to be foiled by our recent inability to win in January. For those keeping score, we haven’t won a bowl game since 2002.
Chad Henne put together a good year…especially at the beginning of the season, looking far more comfortable and fluid in the pocket. (I still maintain that he overthrows or completely misses his receivers way too often, but that’s a story for another time). And unlike 2005, I don’t recall a single moment in which our student section began chanting the backup quarterbacks name. Mike Hart showed no ill-effects from his ankle injury in 2005 and even had Heisman rumblings surrounding him through the first half of the season. Another mid-season Heisman hopeful was then-sophomore Mario Manningham, who torched the Notre Dame defense in week three for 137 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns!
Lloyd Carr’s revamped defense, led by newly appointed defensive coordinator Ron English forced countless turnovers and efficiently stopped the running game; a weakness that plagued the team in the previous year… on my 19th birthday (again, 2005), I watched Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell rush for 257 combined yards, including a 61 yard run by Russell in the last two minutes that led to the game winning field goal for Minnesota. Not good times.
The Wolverines also lost the embodiment of Michigan football when Bo Schembechler passed away on Nov. 17th, the day before the Michigan v. Ohio State game; already dubbed “Game of the Century” as it became the first time in which the two schools would meet as the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the nation.
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES 2007 PREVIEW
Between Henne, Hart, Manningham, and all-world tackle Jake Long, the Michigan offense is as good on paper as any team in the nation. But take it from someone in the stands every Saturday, we face way too many third-downs than we should. Another blow to the Michigan offense is the indefinite suspension of Adrian Arrington due to legal issues. Arrington filled in nicely when Manningham missed three games with an injury last year. Sophomores Greg Matthews and LaTerryal Savoy will have to step up in Arrington’s absence to alleviate the double teams that Super Mario will command.
The defense lost many of its key players to the draft, including DT Alan Branch (33rd overall; Cardinals), ILB David Harris (47th overall; Jets), DE/LB Lamar Woodley (46th overall, Steelers), OLB Prescott Burgess (207th overall; Ravens), and CB Leon Hall (18th overall; Bengals). However, there isn’t a whole lot of concern coming out of Ann Arbor, which reflects the faith in defensive coordinator Ron English to maximize performance and talent. One of the most noticeable differences in the 2006 defensive squad was their ability to close in on the ball. And every player hustled. More than a few times, DT Alan Branch made tackles deep into the secondary. So look for players like senior OLB Shawn Crable, sophomore DE Brandon Graham, and senior SS Jamar Adams to have huge seasons.
Personally, I believe the most affected, and venerable, area of Michigan football is now the special teams. Stevie Breaston was one of the most exciting players to watch, especially in the open field. With his departure to the NFL (142nd overall, Cardinals), the Wolverines will have a tough time filling the void on special teams. And you don’t have to be a football-guru to understand that better field position leads to more points. Unfortunately, I don’t know if anyone can replace even half of Breaston’s return numbers. Perhaps just as unsettling is the void left by Garrett Rivas, who in his senior season became Michigan’s all-time leader in field goals. So far, there is no clear-cut front runner for the placekicker position, so only time will tell who wins that battle.
Our very own Michigan Insider, Brian Yu returns to school in August as he will be providing us exclusive reports from the press box in Ann Arbor.
Brian was behind the plate when Shawn Crable struck out three times (!) in an Intramural softball game. Go Gracie!
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