Tue Apr 19 12:17pm EDT
If you want the cool, detailed, brainy analysis on Cam Newton's transition from a "one-read" offense to the NFL, check out Smart Football's take on the reads and progressions Newton was asked to make at Auburn, or maybe to one of those draft guides cluttering up the newsstands lately. For the fiery, emotional version, look no further than Newton's coach, Gene Chizik, who informed CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd and all the haters out there that his star player is 100 percent quarterback, man:
"Cam is one of those competitive guys," [Chizik] said recently. "… NFL stuff, I'll make this really clear: Somebody's going to take him really high and have a great player. Don't let that other stuff in between fool you."
"I've heard different people talk about the quarterback in this spread system," Chizik said. "I would just like somebody to define to me what they consider to be a spread. What I hear are a lot people talking out of both sides of their mouths that aren't really sure what a spread is.
"Is a spread based on five wideouts, four wideouts? Is it a spread based on tempo of the offense? Our offense, it's a power, counter, inside zone, two-back, play-action team. If that's what we're considering a spread, more power to them. He [Newton] had the exact same reads in our offense that he will in the NFL."
I'm going to guess he doesn't really mean "exact," exactly (note that Chizik has never played or coached in the NFL or any other professional league), and that Gus Malzahn is readying a public statement, just in case. With a little more than a week to go until the first round, though, it's looking less and less like Newton needs the backup.
The general consensus since the start of the month seems to have shifted from the curious Blaine Gabbert love fest that dominated the draft conversation in March to a reluctant acceptance that Newton's potential is too much for the Carolina Panthers to pass up with the No. 1 pick: The vast majority of mock drafts from all corners of the web have consistently broken for Newton over the last three weeks, and the ones that don't have tended to cite vague "character issues," not his single year as a starter in a shotgun-based, screen and misdirection-heavy passing game that relied on his threat as a runner to an extent most of the NFL has almost adamantly refused to copy for other athletic passers. (Michael Vick in Philadelphia being a notable exception.) Unless something truly bizarre happens over the next nine days, there seem to be very few people left who think Newton somehow won't end up in Carolina.
But it never hurts to have a little strongly-worded hyperbole in your corner.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.