Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

SEC is in control

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Christopher from Hollywood, CA:
If I sat down with you and watched some old footage of Jim Brown, would you be telling me that all the defenders in that era didn't know how to tackle? The players who have the ball in their hands today are vastly superior physically to generations past. Jim Brown was just ahead of his time in that regard. It is not simply a matter of fundamentals. Players with today's size, speed and strength are inevitably going to be harder to catch and bring down, and that's simply unavoidable. Google a picture of Raymond Berry and then one of Andre Johnson. You mentioned the game went from vertical to dink and dunk, but why do you think that is? Getting today's guys in open space is a greater advantage than it used to be. This is not an intended slight at past players, but your account of today vs. yesterday in terms of tackling is a very over-simplified means of glorifying the past.

Vic: Jim Brown is arguably the greatest player that ever lived. He would break tackles in any era. Justin Gage would not. What I'm seeing are missed tackles week in and week out, game in and game out. I'm seeing week tackling attempts by players who appear to be afraid to get the knees of their pants dirty. You didn't see that in "yesterday's" game. I don't know if you're old enough to have watched pro football during the Jim Brown, Raymond Berry years, but I watched it and I covered it beginning in the generation that immediately followed Brown and Berry, and I ask you to trust me when I tell you that there is no comparison in tackling technique between now and then. It was vicious and it was to the ground back then.

David from Tuscaloosa, AL:
Poor tackling could be blamed on a lot of things. How much do you think the rules and enforcement of those rules has changed the way defenses approach tackling?

Vic: The rules were changed and shaped for the purpose of changing the way football is played, from down-and-dirty trench warfare to a clean and upright form of basketball on grass. The emphasis was shifted from playing the ball-carrier to playing the ball. Clearly, it has eroded tackling skills and sharpened the ability to play the ball in the air.

Brad from Lawrence, KS:
Although nothing is set in stone, the Big 12 looks like it's about to collapse. Where do you see a team like Kansas ending up when it is all said and done? Being one of the top five basketball programs in the country and having an up-and-coming football program, I think they deserve better than the Mountain West Conference, although that might be inevitable.

Vic: UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun said it best: "We'll go where football takes us." Even for the best and most storied basketball programs, that's the way it is because football is the engine that drives revenue and university athletic departments. Kansas will land on its feet somewhere. The idea of the Big 12 leftovers merging with the Big East to form east and west divisions is intriguing. Imagine the level of basketball competition in that arrangement. There was also talk over the weekend that the Big 12 may be able to hold it together. Either way, I wouldn't worry.

Bryan from Smyrna, TN:
I watched my first soccer game on Saturday. It was the U.S. vs. England. One guy got the ball and passed it to another guy, who passed it to another guy, who passed it to another guy, who passed it to another guy, and then the other team intercepted it (with their feet) and then he passed the ball to one of his guys, who passed it to another guy, who passed it to another guy, who passed it to another guy, and then just as he was about to pass it, a guy on the other team kicked the ball away from him and, in the process, tripped him. That's when the ref pulled out a yellow flag. I think it was for pass-interference. Anyway, after what felt like eternity, the game was finally over. The score was 1-1. Now I see why there are always riots.

Vic: And then a woman in a van with a soccer ball sticker on her gas cap lid pulled up and all of the players got in her van and they left.

Richmond from Jacksonville:
What happens to the Jaguars during a game if the number one and number two quarterbacks go down in a game? Who plays?

Vic: Do you think it really matters, Eddie?

Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Mays, Mantle or Aaron? Mantle was my favorite but as time went on I grew to admire Aaron as a person and as a player. I think one time he said, "I can catch the same ball Willie can but I can catch it above my head with my hat on." Was Mays one of the first showboats/Deions?

Vic: Henry Aaron was a good fielder but he wasn't in Willie Mays' class and he certainly didn't have Mays' arm. If Aaron had been playing centerfield instead of Mays, Vic Wertz would still be running. Yeah, Mays had flair to his game. He had style. He'd run out from under his hat and he'd make a basket catch of a lazy fly ball, but he's the best centerfielder I ever saw and, in my opinion, the greatest player of all-time, too, which means that I'd take him over anybody. If Mays hadn't played the majority of his career at Candlestick, he'd be the all-time home run champion. Aaron was fortunate to have played at two launching pads, Milwaukee County Stadium and Fulton County Stadium. I shudder to think how many more home runs Mays would've hit had he played in those two parks instead of Candlestick, where the wind made home runs to left field nearly impossible after four o'clock in the afternoon. What if Mays had played his whole career at Crosley Field or Fenway Park? That's why I'm not big on records. They don't tell you the whole story. I saw Mays and Aaron play. I know what I saw.

Jared from Jacksonville:
I saw a copy of "Athlon's" NFL preview magazine in the grocery store and immediately thought of your classic confrontation a couple of weeks ago on "Jaguars This Week" with a caller who said you were too negative and the Jaguars wouldn't be picked last in every publication. I thought you might want to know the Jaguars were picked to finish last in the AFC South, with the caption, "picking the Jags to win would be an Alualu-caliber reach."

Vic: That's the national perception. It doesn't mean anything, it's just the way it is until the Jaguars change it. That's all I was trying to get across. I was trying to introduce some balance to our make-the-playoffs-or-else expectation by reminding everyone that it's likely most preseason magazines will pick the Jaguars to finish last in the division. All of a sudden, this guy comes on the air and tells me to kiss his you know what. Why? Because I spoke the truth?

Tony from Orange Park, FL:
You said that if a high draft pick was to get injured before signing a contract, he would get paid according to where he was picked in the draft. Do you know of any examples of a high first-round draft pick getting seriously injured before signing a contract, and can you tell us what happened?

Vic: I know of no such occurrence. If you can think of one, tell me and I'll find out what happened.

Holger from Bad Vilbel, Germany:
I think the U.S. soccer team just needs to start winning and you will enjoy the game much more. Agree?

Vic: No, I don't agree, but keep asking and keep badgering me and I'll eventually give in and tell you what you think, instead of what I think. I did it with need drafting and I can do it with soccer, too.

Patrick from Jacksonville:
I love reading your column, Vic; first thing I go to online in the morning. With the possible NCAA merger into four super conferences, do you think a playoff system is close behind?

Vic: Yeah, it could be, but it's also possible that this whole expansion thing could stop dead. As long as Notre Dame maintains its independence, I think the Big 10 will stay at 12 teams. They want Notre Dame; they don't want anybody else. The only way they add another team is if that team can help deliver Notre Dame. Where does the SEC go after Texas A&M? The SEC has already said it won't raid the ACC. This whole thing is wild and it could go anywhere, but it could also stop dead in its tracks. The way I see it, the move of the "Texas Five" to the PAC-10 would be the next domino to fall. If that happens and if Texas A&M goes to the SEC, and if the SEC should then decide to fill out its membership by raiding the ACC, then look out. At that point, the SEC would chase the ACC north to raid the Big East, and that would force the Big 10's hand. At that point, we'd be headed for four super conferences and, yes, a national playoff system. First comes the "Texas Five," then A&M moving to the SEC, and then all eyes will turn to the SEC to see if they go to 16 teams. If they do, then 16 becomes the standard and the Big 10 and the ACC will have no choice but to follow suit. From where I sit, it appears the SEC is in control of college football's destiny.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content