FOUR BITS: Big Board update, Vandy’s QB out, more I-form, Spikes’ image tarnished

By Adam Silverstein
November 3, 2009

1 » Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap has moved up a spot from No. 8 to No. 7 in ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s latest Big Board. Kiper says Dunlap’s “physical tools are off the charts” and claims he has “unlimited upside potential.” I still believe Dunlap has the opportunity to be a top five (if not No. 1 overall) pick in the NFL Draft this year. Also on Kiper’s big board are junior cornerback Joe Haden (who entered at the No. 11 spot) and senior linebacker Brandon Spikes (who dropped four spots to No. 24). Kiper says Haden is a “polished cover corner with tackling ability to match,” while Spikes is a “complete MLB, solid in all areas.” Interesting praise for Haden considering he was unranked all season on Kiper’s board up until this point. On a similar note, senior linebacker Ryan Stamper has been named a “riser” by Sports Illustrated because he is “efficient stuffing the run or covering the pass” and has the “discipline and ability to be in the right place at the right time.”

2 » Completing a 35-yard run against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday night, Vanderbilt Commodores sophomore starting quarterback Larry Smith came up lame. What would be diagnosed by an MRI on Monday as a left hamstring tear will sideline Smith for the remainder of the season. Senior Mackenzi Adams replaced Smith against Georgia Tech, going 12-for-22 for 152 yards, and will finish the season as Vanderbilt’s starter. He is 21-of-37 for 239 yards and no touchdowns on the season.

3 » More cowbell I-form! Florida Gators fans should expect the I-formation to be a regular part of the team’s game plan from this point forward. For two consecutive weeks, Florida has found success out of it – first a touchdown run by redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey against the Mississippi State Bulldogs and then another one on an option run by senior quarterback Tim Tebow against the Georgia Bulldogs after two consecutive I-formation runs by sophomore Jeff Demps with Tebow under center. “It’s not the most thrilling, exciting style, but it’s a mindset,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “We need to be able to do that. With our personnel, we should be able to do that. I’m very pleased with what we’ve done (with Tebow under center). You might see more.” It sounds OK with Tebow, too. “I think it gives us a different look,” Tebow said. “It’s something team’s don’t prepare for a lot against us.”

4 » Half because we needed a fourth “BIT” and half because the column is written quite well, we point you over to Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun, who believes that Spikes’ real punishment (whether or not you agree with the half-game suspension) is to his image. “Not only will he miss half a game,” Dooley said, “his reputation has been changed around the country. People will see his name and think ‘dirty player.’ That’s his real punishment.”

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