Friday, August 17, 2012

Some spotlight for Branden Smith

I see and hear a lot of arguments as to whether certain college football ticket prices are worth the money involved to obtain them. I can see the argument for saving the cash, staying at home to avoid the ever increasing hassles of tailgating around campus and just enjoying the game through the technology of a high def receiver. There's no traffic, no weird contests to determine a designated driver and Prez Adams can't outlaw your smoking grill on the patio. Yes, I get that.
Like a freight train...gone!

But for me there's just something magical about being there that is more than enough to supercede all of that convenience. I remember in Tempe when Knowshon high dived into the endzone, there was a noticeable gasp throughout the stadium. Sun Devils and Dawgs alike were so taken aback by the sheer athleticism that you could hear thousands of people inhale at exactly the same time.

And no doubt there have been many times in Sanford throughout its history that the play on the field creates a buzz in the stands that is palpable, electric. For me the most memorable one was South Carolina 2009. Branden Smith's touchdown was the perfect call combined with absolute superhuman speed. For one, the play call utilized the talent that Smith possesses to perfection. However, the Gamecocks had defenders in position to, at the very least, prevent the score. But once the jets were ignited, they weren't cooling down anywhere inside of 62 yards. Most notably, 92,000 jaws dropped well before any visor touched ground.

I've mentioned before that I'm enjoying David Ching's countdown series Around the Hedges. Yesterday it was Branden's turn and Ching of course mentioned that play as #1's greatest highlight to date. And Groo points out that Smith has been chasing that kind of highlight ever since 2009, all while getting fewer touches and looks on offense.

Will his senior season bring better fortune for Smith? Things are looking up for sure. He was cleared to play the season opener (despite Chuckles playing lawyer in protest) and according to reports has had a solid camp this month. He's played special teams his entire career in Athens, which will only help his draft status next spring. Some offensive fireworks could increase it even more.

It took four years to see the kind of impact Brandon Boykin could have offensively. Could it Smith's skills add an offensive boost to the 2012 season, like they did in 2009? The spotlight's on, it's time to shine.