Friday, December 22, 2006

I hadn't started blogging yet, but I still feel I owe Adam Tafralis an apology. After the Nevada debacle -- in which he made two of the worst decisions/throws I've ever seen a QB, at any level, make -- I called him dumb and incapable of leading the Spartans to anything meaningful.

While I've never met the guy, he seems intelligent enough in interviews, so I'm going to go ahead and revoke that first statement. And since he's now led the Spartans to their first bowl game in 16 years, I suppose that second part has been proven false as well.

But generally, I just think Tafralis has really blossomed into a decent quarterback. And while he still makes decisions that I would deem less-than-intelligent (always pick up the first down near the end of the game), his stats prove that he makes, by and large, good decisions. You don't amass a 18/7 TD/INT ratio by making bad ones. You don't compile the 16th best passer rating in college football by being a dunderhead. You don't lead your team to four second-half comebacks by losing games for your team. You don't play a near-perfect game against Fresno by accident.

Today's Merc story mainly elaborates on these points. And I'm glad that he doesn't blame his past struggles on lack of faith or anything like that. He seems to be accountable for all his struggles, which I like. He also seems willing to prove he deserves the job next year, as opposed to expecting to have it given to him. I, for one, look forward to him and Sean Flynn battling it out in training camp.

While the situation at QB seems pretty solid, it could be far-less so in the secondary if Dwight Lowery is lured away by the NFL. It's hard to tell a kid, who one year ago was playing at Cabrillo College that he should turn down the guaranteed money of a third-round pick (a few hundred thousand dollars) in order to return to SJSU and risk injury. I will offer this, though: Another season like this one and a 6-foot-1 CB with great hands is probably a first-rounder, set to make a cool million in signing bonus alone.

As far as uplifting stories go David Sullivan's is near the top. He's an Iraq and Afghanistan Marine veteran, who walked on at SJSU. A great story, in fact one that's been told by other media outlets, but oddly not by the Merc, for whatever reason.

And not to be too praiseful, but the New Mexico papers have done an unbelievable job with their coverage. It's not just the bowl, but the Spartans they've covered real well. The Albuqurque Tribune gives us this one today, about Tomey's influence. They also give us this nugget that does a good job highlighting the Lobos' recent struggles and how much their fans expect this to be a cakewalk. It's odd, really, considering the Spartans really do seem to be the better team on paper, something everyone but UNM fans seem to understand.


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