November 25th, 2013 01:15 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Georgia, GSU, NFL, SEC
From the high school level to the NFL, 2013 seems to be the Year of the Injury. Prior to yesterday’s games, there were already 352 NFL players assigned “injured reserve” status. That’s 11 per team — an entire side of the ball. It’s also 32 players per week. Put another way, every NFL team is losing a player per game to a season-ending injury.
Look around the SEC and you’ll see the same. Florida and Georgia, in particular, have had their high hopes dashed by one fallen player after another. The Gators are minus 10+ starters and lost three linebackers — three! — in Saturday’s loss to Georgia Southern, leaving a walk-on on the field to try and read and stop GSU’s triple-option. Georgia’s offense has suffered ups and downs as star running backs and receivers have been in an out of the lineup. Now they’ll start a backup quarterback versus Georgia Tech thanks to a season-ending ACL tear to Aaron Murray.
At quarterback alone, the SEC has been bitten hard by the injury bug. Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt have all started at least two quarterbacks due to injuries. Georgia will do so when Hutson Mason starts on Saturday. Mississippi State has already started two due to injuries and freshman Damian Williams could be starter #3 if the Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell can’t heal up quickly. Florida and Tennessee have already used three different starters due to injuries.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t watch football to see third-string quarterbacks and walk-on linebackers.
Today’s football players are bigger and stronger than ever before thanks to improved weight rooms. Thirty years ago there were NFL teams with weight rooms less impressive than the facilities now used by colleges and even the biggest of big-time high school programs.
Today’s football players are faster, better athletes than ever before thanks to weight training that now goes on almost year-round. Yet some of the protective gear players used to wear has disappeared. For example, shoulder pads — especially for quarterbacks — have gotten smaller and offer less protection. But it’s not just the QBs as you can see here.
In other words, we’re taking bigger, faster, stronger players and running them into one another with — in some areas — less protection. No wonder football is more a game of attrition than a game of skill in 2013. And sadly, no wonder this is on pace to be one of the deadliest years in the school ranks since 1986.
Should we expect the trend to reverse itself? On the contrary. With every passing month another major program breaks ground on a space age weightroom facility designed to speed up, bulk up and toughen up their players even further. Why, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that in the past three decades football players have gone from Rocky’esque training methods to Ivan Drago’s workout regimen.
And I’ve yet to mention the massive issues we’re now seeing with concussions and head injuries.
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