November 22, 2009

Toby Gerhart Update

In the Big Game against #25 Cal, Toby Gerhart had his typical game: four touchdowns (giving him 23 on the season) and 130 yards on 20 carries. But he really needed another 200 yard game, as Stanford's freshman quarterback went back to playing like a freshman quarterback (10 of 30 passing). Cal won 34-28.

From the New York Times:

[Stanford Coach] Harbaugh said he regretted not handing the ball to Gerhart at the end.

“There were a lot of should-haves in this game,” Harbaugh said.

... The Cardinal looked poised to make Tedford pay for his decision, charging to the foot of the Cal end zone on two big runs by Luck and a 29-yard sideline pass from Luck to Gerhart. Gerhart shook three defenders and dragged two others down to the Cal 13.

Luck dropped back on second down and sent a pass over the middle, intended for tight end Coby Fleener. Instead it landed in the arms of Mohamed.

“I thought I had a shot at Coby in the end zone, but I didn’t make a good enough throw,” said Luck, who finished 10 of 30 for 157 yards.

Stanford threw its fatal interception with 1:36 left, so they had enough time to try to let Gerhart run the ball in. You can see why Stanford's coach is kicking himself for calling a pass instead of giving it to Gerhart. Not only did they lose, but if Gerhart had scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the game in the final minute to beat Stanford's arch-rival 35-34, he might have vaulted to the top of the Heisman race.

Gerhart did get a nice write-up in the New York Times about how he was his high school valedictorian and how he's taking five classes at Stanford this fall, along with carrying the ball 26 times per game on Saturday. (He's no genius -- he's just a real all-arounder.) If I ran, say, a big commercial real estate development firm in Silicon Valley, I'd tell him to come see me whenever he decides to hang up his football and/or baseball spikes. Heisman Trophy winners who have done very well for themselves in real estate include Roger Staubach and Gary Beban.

As for the Heisman race, the frontrunner apparently is undefeated Alabama's running back Mark Ingram, who has had a very solid season. Still, he's only a sophomore, he's coming off an a good but undistinguished freshman season, and while his 2009 stats are excellent, they're not spectacular. The Heisman is supposed to be a single year award, but it tends to have a career achievement aspect to it as well, at minimum to prevent flukes.

Ingram, himself, argues that he's not even the best player on his own team, which might not be false modesty.

Anyway, without an overwhelming candidate this year, it would be a good time for a PR dynamo to generate a last minute publicity stampede for somebody besides the usual quarterback or running back -- either a multi-role player like C.J. Spiller of Clemson, a defensive player (Charles Woodson remains the only defensive player ever to win), or even, mirabile dictu, an offensive lineman.

With so much video available online these days, it's a shame that players whose contributions don't show up in the headline stats aren't being given a fair consideration for the Heisman. I spend about 2-3 hours per week watching college football or looking up statistics, and that tiny investment of time lets me come to roughly the same conclusions as the full time sportswriters: maybe Ingram, then Spiller, then Gerhart. But that's kind of sad. The experts who vote should be coming up not with just the same names as us Joe Amateurs who glance at the headlines, but with the names of tight ends and cornerbacks and centers as well.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


DCThrowback said...

I see someone is also a fan of Gregg Easterbrook...or at least his column, "Tuesday Morning Quarterback", over at

Anonymous said...

Colt McCoy should win- lifetitme achievement plus he's undefeated and mdakes that offense purr. If Inngram has a huge game vsa Florida in the SEC cha mpionship give it to him then.

Brian Kelly of Cincinnati is next coach at Notre Dame btw. The best team in the country is TCU and their QB Andy Dalton should get some Heisman votes. Andy Dalton and Colt McCoy- they just sound like Texas QBs.

Dan in DC

eh said...

...and 130 yards on 20 carries.

Which loses a bit of luster when you know that 61 of those yards came on one carry. Which means in 19 carries he gained roughly 70 yards, which is just under 4 yards per carry.

But he still has a chance to help get Charlie Weis fired.

Still, he's only a sophomore,...

Yes. After Archie Griffin, I thought they ought to recast the Heisman so it recognizes play over four years -- an award for seniors, so to speak.

Dutch Boy said...

No white running back will win the Heisman (it is reserved for black running backs and any race quarterbacks).

Anonymous said...

No doubt, if Gerhart gets to the endzone instead of the 13 yard line, he wins the Heisman. That would have been 5 touchdowns for the game including the game winner and Stanford would have ended the season in the top 10.

rakeback said...

Toby Gerhart is already one of the best players in college football and if Standford can keep him together with Andrew Luck they could contend for the PAC 10 for the next couple years and maybe a national championship.