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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Woodling

Freeman looks the part

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2009 first-round draft pick, Josh Freeman gestures during a news conference Monday April 27, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. Freeman was a quarterback at Kansas State.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2009 first-round draft pick, Josh Freeman gestures during a news conference Monday April 27, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. Freeman was a quarterback at Kansas State.

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Many years ago, when I was writing a feature story on a Kansas University football player, I went to his position coach for an assessment.

After chatting for a minute or so, I asked the KU aide what he thought of the player.

“He looks good in a suit,” the coach replied.

In other words, the guy may have looked like a football player, but he wasn’t. Through the years, I’ve seen countless players who fit into that false-front category, and I’m sure you have, too.

Along the same lines, if the player who looks good in a suit plays a skill position, there’s a very good chance the coach who used him will be fired.

And that brings me to Josh Freeman, the former Kansas State quarterback who went to the Tampa Bay Bucs in the first round of the NFL Draft.

I’m not saying Ron Prince was fired because of Freeman. That may be like blaming the swine flu on Porky Pig, yet Freeman never did quite live up to his billing.

Last season was the Year of the Quarterback in the Big 12 Conference. The league boasted at least seven quality QBs, and none looked better in a suit than Freeman, a prototypical pro at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds.

And yet of the conference’s Big Seven QBs, Freeman ranked lowest on the statistical charts. He threw fewer TD passes and had a lower completion ratio than the other six.

Then again, it could be argued Freeman didn’t have the receivers the other six had. What if he had had Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman? Or Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree? Or KU’s Dezmon Briscoe?

At the same time, you could argue that Freeman’s league ranking was skewed by the fact the Big 12 had so many talented QBs. After all, one of them — Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford — won the Heisman Trophy.

And yet three other QBs who ranked higher than Freeman and were eligible for the NFL Draft — MU’s Chase Daniel, Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell and Nebraska’s Joe Ganz — were ignored. The other three — Bradford, KU’s Todd Reesing and Texas’ Colt McCoy — will be back this fall.

When it comes to physical skills, neither Ganz nor Daniel, who signed free-agent deals with the Washington Redskins, can touch Freeman. Both are about six inches shorter and lack Freeman’s arm strength. They’ll be lucky if they’re holding a clipboard on the Redskins’ sideline this fall.

Ganz and Daniel are a lot like Reesing, also considered an NFL non-prospect. Their tool boxes may not be full, but there’s more to carpentry than hammers and nails. You can’t hack it without the knack.

Does Freeman have the knack? Does he possess the intangibles? Does he have the gut instincts to play football’s toughest position?

Or as one NFL quarterbacks coach said: “(Freeman) looks like what a first-round quarterback is supposed to look like. He has the arm and the size, but there’s something missing.”

First-year Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris was an aide at K-State when Freeman was recruited, and Morris obviously views Freeman as an immediate impact player.

But that’s what Prince thought about Freeman, and the former KSU head coach is now the special-teams coach at Virginia.

Comments

KUPROUD 11 years, 1 month ago

You might be right on the mark, Chuck. But I have always wondered how Freeman might have developed under Snyder, or if he had come to KU under Mangino. The raw talent is there, and he doesn't lack intelligence or confidence. It seemed to me that Prince, as a head coach, was a talent-killer, rather than a talent-developer. You might say that Prince, as a head coach, "looked good in a suit."

Ted Toulouse 11 years, 1 month ago

He's got a "million dollar arm with a five cent head."

JayViking 11 years, 1 month ago

This is the kind of crap that would just piss me off if I were Todd Reesing.

Todd,

If you're reading this, you know you're 10x better than Freeman ever will be. Size, nor arm strength, nor any other excuse people have given you this far has bore any impact. Show everyone that they don't know jack. Prove 'em wrong.

Love, KU Nation

Lance Hobson 11 years, 1 month ago

Well said, JV. Reesing is a leader and a winner. Freeman looked lost when KU crushed KState this year. I was a big fan of Freeman when I saw him play as a freshman, but he never developed. He looks slow and awkward on the field and has no killer instinct.

When Freeman is a rich bust in a few years, he'll have the money but he'll never be remembered and honored the way Reesing will be.

trojan4life 11 years, 1 month ago

Reesing is not 10 times better than Freeman. NFL Talent evaluators know what they are looking for. Look at all the record setting quarterbacks from Texas Tech. Which one of them has made any waves in the NFL? A lot of times the systyem makes the quarterback. In the NFL where players are bigger stronger and faster athletic ability is at a premium . Which is where Josh Freeman fits in. This kid is an athletic marvel and had all the potential in the world. I hate making mistakes for players but we all know Ron Prince was not the best coach in the world and we all saw the talent surrounding Josh at KSU. What would Bradford, Reesing, Mccoy do with absolutely no running game and horrible Defense? Would the throw for near 3,000 yards and add 14 rusing touchdowns. ??? Dont think so. Josh Freeman could be a bust but lets not be so quick to pass judgement on a young man. Best of luck to all of the Big 12 quarterbacks who move on to the NFL I would like to see them all succeed.

TwinCitiesJHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

trojan4life, you're right, Reesing is not 10 times better, he's 100 times better than Freeman.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 1 month ago

Todd is definitely a better football player, a better quarterback, and a better leader than Josh Freeman. Reesing is a proven winner, and Freeman is an unproven quarterback with pro size and athleticism. It has yet to be seen whether or not Josh Freeman is a true competitor who thrives under pressure. Reesing has it and Freeman is still looking for it.

KUPROUD 11 years, 1 month ago

Our emotions, including mine, get involved because I love Reesing's intangibles, like leadership, desire, competitiveness, etc. That's what takes his decent athletic ability and small stature to greater heights and makes him a winner. I agree with Plastic, Freeman has never shown he has those intangibles. If he finds them in Tampa, he has a chance to be a pro. If not, he'll be shipped out within two years and forgotten. However, Reesing will live on in KU lore.

JayViking 11 years, 1 month ago

Using the NFL draft to justify a player's talent level is not all together fair. We know Freeman has the stature the NFL is looking for, but Reesing's intangibles make him a better quarterback. And if you want to say the "system" is what makes Reesing look so good, you're just an idiot. Reesing does MORE with LESS than anyone else on the planet. That's not to discount our players (who are CERTAINLY improving), it's more of a compliment to those who surround Bradford/McCoy.

jmsuther 11 years, 1 month ago

thank you for writing this... i live in manhattan and i have to explain to someone every day on why freeman sucks so bad

Robert Brock 11 years, 1 month ago

NFL GM's are so consumed with players' 40 times, bench press, height, etc. and that's what seems to dictate so many players moving up in the draft that didn't show as much football IQ on the college level. If Freeman was 5'11, 200 lbs, he wouldn't have had a chance of being drafted.

I will be absolutely shocked if Freeman turns out to be an all-pro type of player. Though he played for an embarrassing KSU team, I would still expect that a first round draft pick showed throughout college the ability to every once in a while flat out take over games and make the reads and make the big play. Freeman didn't show much of that from what I watched. I remember he had some pretty good games against UT, but he really looked confused out there most of the time. If I were a Bucs fan, I would be more than a little miffed at that pick.

William James 11 years, 1 month ago

jmsuther- Just make sure to remind them that their legend, in 3 games against KU, threw for a grand total of 1 TD, and 13(yes 13) turnovers. If they think the man is great, more power to em.

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