Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Warrick gets the Bone: Thoughts on the Jefferson hit

Robby Jansen, in a comment earlier today, pointed out a passage from Lucas's meandering story on the state of the Big Ten in general that deserves its own post. The passage pertains to Nehemiah Warrick's hit on Kyle Jefferson during Saturday's Wisconsin-Michigan State game. The embedded clip above only shows a replay; this link shows the play as it occurred and about two minutes afterward (wouldn't allow embedding).

... It's just too bad some of his Big Ten fraternity brothers are oblivious to player safety because of their own macho ego trips. Take Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who awarded "the Bone'' to safety Nehemiah Warrick for his helmet-to-helmet hit on UW wide receiver Kyle Jefferson. Never mind that the hit was illegal and the Spartans should have been penalized 15 yards, at the very least. The Bone, a real bone, is a team symbol and Warrick gets to carry it around for a week, according to the Detroit News.

It's one thing for television's Neanderthals to pay homage to an illegal hit, but coaches should be above such things. When Michigan State's head coach Mark Dantonio was asked about Warrick's hit on Jefferson, he told the Detroit News, "He (Warrick) put his shoulder on him, I felt. It was shoulder. It was body-body.'' Dantonio may have a vision for his Spartan program. But he needs to get his eyes checked.

My thoughts after seeing that replay 100 times:
-Warrick did not intend to lead with his helmet on Jefferson, but that's how it ended up. It's a fast game. Since intent can't be factored into a call, it should have been a penalty.

-Even if Warrick's intent wasn't malicious, it is inappropriate for the MSU staff to reward him in such a manner that might become public. Maybe a reserved shout-out in a film session, but to give this guy an award after he gave a guy a concussion and making his body go limp for a moment is perverse.

-I think it was Maguire who had the dumbest reaction among the TV guys. It was something like "Why is the crowd booing? It was a clean hit!" Never mind that he was wrong on the second point, and he seems to realize that about five seconds later, but it took one of his partners to point out "I think the crowd is booing the Spartans' reaction to the play while Jefferson lies on the turf."

This brought back memories of that Packer game a few years ago where Warren Sapp laid a ferocious, clean block on Chad Clifton during an interception return, nearly separating his leg from the rest of his body, and then running around the field celebrating. In the replay, Warrick didn't look like he was celebrating too much, and his teammates' congratulations did not seem over the top.

Football is a game played on adrenaline (at least that's what people who have played tell me), and it's natural to be pumped after a big hit. Warrick surely didn't think he had potentially severely hurt Jefferson, just as Sapp didn't. But after the game is over, the film has been watched, show some respect and maybe even regret for the big hit and your victim. Again, not placing blame on Warrick here, but some on those around him.

Two additional notes:
-Doesn't Jefferson's mug shot, with the headband, make him look like a basketball player? He's built more like one anyway ... sort of like Randy Moss. He kind of looks like Rip Hamilton, minus the horrible cornrows.
-The two YouTube clips referenced in this post have about 170,000 views between them. Guess these two are household names now.


Deuces said...

One point to clarify - Rip Hamilton has horrible cornrows, not dreadlocks.

Scott Tappa said...

My bad, made the change.

-Your culturally illiterate brother

mjschwal said...

Taps - I was thinking the same exact thing about Jefferson. I think he looks strikingly similar to Rip.

Will said...

I can't believe how skinny this guy you think if it was Swan, Hubbard and Beckum he just bounces back up and this becomes a relative non-story?

Millie said...

He is thin, and the Rip thing is somewhat frightening, but I think that hit would have left anyone on the turf for a minute or two. It's amazing how Badger faithful see the hit as dirty and the Spartan fans see it as a clean hit. I don't think he was trying to spear either, but if you can't see that the first contact was made with the helmet, you're watching a different replay than me.

Oh, and nice blog Taps.


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