Hearty congratulations to Troy Smith, winner of the 2006 Heisman Award.
Obviously a great player, he is more than that; he has changed himself from “an athlete”, which is often a euphemism for “so much talent, why doesn’t he make smarter decisions?”, into a real quarterback. From the above article:
Once known more for his speed and elusiveness, Smith’s become the consummate pocketpasser. Accurate and poised, he’s fourth in the nation in passer rating (167.9) with 2,507 yards passing and 30 TD passes.
The list of similar quarterbacks who’ve been unable to make the same tranisition — or simply chose not to — in both college and NFL ball, is long, and full of famous names.
Being a quarterback is all about making decisions, and executing them. Those who do it very well prepare their team to win much more than those who compile impressive personal stats, such as passing for 400 yards, or throwing 40 times, or rushing for 100 yards. Check out the win/loss percentages of quarterbacks who consistently post big individual numbers; generally speaking, it isn’t good (Peyton Manning excepted, but he is still waiting for his first Super Bowl title, too).
Forcing yourself to become a different kind of player, in order to help the team win, is never easy, and speaks to the quality of the person inside the player. It also speaks to the quality of the coaching, which in this case means Jim Tressel, head coach at Ohio State. But this is hardly shocking, since as head coach at Youngstown State, before he came to Ohio State, he won 4 national championships.
So from where I sit, Troy Smith is good people, and a smart athlete besides. He deserves any and all good things that come his way. Chicago Bears, take note. Congratulations, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Tressel, and good luck in the national championship game against Florida on Jan. 8th.