EAST LANSING – Now,
usually I don’t do this, but uh … give ’em a lil’ preview of the
remix.

Janna Hutz

No, forget the preview. This is the remix – “the remix to
Braylition.”

Braylon Edwards, I called you out. After the Indiana game, in
which you stood on the sidelines for the first quarter and a half,
I questioned your work ethic. I said you had created the image of a
superstar, but weren’t giving the effort to back up that image. I
even compared you to R. Kelly.

I don’t regret what I did. When I heard you told other media
members the Monday after the Minnesota game that I had
misrepresented you, I didn’t flinch. You, the coaches and even your
father, Stan, gave me the impression you were struggling with the
responsibilities bestowed upon the bearer of the No. 1 jersey. My
column was valid.

But this is the remix.

Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce – off
my hands.

Before you had even gone to bed Friday night, The Michigan Daily
had already won the first game of the weekend doubleheader, 10-6
over The State News (that’s 10 touchdowns to six touchdowns).

I played tight end for most of the night. Before the game, I
wore the No. 1 jersey. I wanted the pressure, too. For the past
three weeks building up to the State News game, I had been hyping
myself as having the best hands on the team. Just put it on my
hands, I’ll catch it.

Until it counts.

I ran a pristine out-and-up – a pattern I think you should run
more often – and left my guy in the dust. Quarterback Matt Venegoni
put it over my right shoulder in the endzone. I watched it all the
way in.

Drop.

Two series later, the same thing happened. Same route, same
great touch on the throw.

Drop.

My team needed me to catch those balls, and for some reason, I
can’t explain why I couldn’t make the big play. Obviously, I’m a
sports writer for a reason. I’m not you.

But I can feel you.

Dropping passes is something you really can’t explain. It does
just happen. And when it does, it eats and nags at you afterward.
Just ask my teammates about the personal pity party I was holding
on the sidelines. Being No. 1 isn’t easy, but the past five weeks,
you’ve made it look that way.

The way you do the things you do remind me of my Lexus
coup.

Actually Braylon, I’d say you’re running more like a Ferrari
Testarossa. You’ve scored seven touchdowns in five games, six of
those scores coming in three games against then-top-10 opponents
Iowa, Purdue and Michigan State. Enough said.

You’re second in the nation in touchdown receptions with 11,
tied with Oklahoma State’s Rashaun Woods and five behind
Pittsburgh’s Larry Fitzgerald. Woods and Fitzgerald don’t have to
share the rock with guys like Jason Avant and Steve Breaston on a
regular basis, which makes it a lot easier for them to inflate
their stats.

But regardless of your talented fellow receivers, John Navarre
looks for you when the team needs six. You’re the key to your
team’s ignition in the air.

You must be a football coach, the way you got me playin’ the
field.

You didn’t exactly “toot, toot” or “beep, beep,” but whatever
you did to fix things up with Lloyd Carr and the other coaches, it
must have worked. You’re playing the number of snaps you should
have been playing all along, and look what it’s done for the
team.

Chris Perry is leading the nation in rushing, Navarre has been
steady as always, but without your acrobatic, high-wire acts in the
endzone, I don’t think you guys would have won the last four
games.

When I heard that I missed your outpouring at the press
conference after the Minnesota game, where you claimed you were a
good guy and that you would return for your senior season, I was
shocked. It’s rare that a player in this program steps up and takes
a stand with the media. You guys aren’t allowed to. Did you ask
Carr to let you stand up for yourself, or did he ask you? Either
way, I respect that.

Prophecy is on the door.

What does the future hold for you? Big things, if the remix of
your season and football career continues. You could be a top-10
pick in the 2005 NFL Draft with your combination of raw speed, ups
and soft hands.

What’s the prophecy for your teammates? Your current group could
become the first since 1997 to make the Rose Bowl if you guys can
find a way to stay focused for three more weeks. But you already
know that. You’ve been playing like it’s the only thing on your
mind.

Here’s another thing I’m sure you already know: If you don’t
perform like the Ferrari you can be, you guys probably won’t be
booking tickets to Pasadena.

Don’t worry, though. I know you can handle the pressure now.

J. Brady McCollough and R. Kelly did not collaborate on this
column. McCollough can be reached at
“mailto:bradymcc@umich.edu”>bradymcc@umich.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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