Do you ever watch a Notre Dame football game and wonder how Michael Mayer does the things that he does? Do you ever wonder why opposing teams continue to let him get in one-on-one or one-on-none situations? Well, we might finally have an answer to the latter question.
If you’re a fan of college football writ large and you don’t listen to the CBS Sports Cover 3 Podcast, I recommend it. Danny Kanell is a bit of a caricature, but Chip Patterson is a fun emcee, Tom Fornelli is amusing and Bud Elliott is insightful. Some of those guys appear to have Notre Dame biases, but it’s pretty tame and par for the course when it comes to national pundit treatment of the Irish.
That’s relevant because on this Monday’s episode of Cover 3, the group discussed the upcoming matchup between Notre Dame and No. 5 Clemson, and Elliott had this to say:
I’ve talked to coaches who have played Notre Dame, and they’re like, “Man, they’re so– like, they’re so ordinary on the outside. They don’t scare you. Their quarterback is really pretty bad. And, like, Mayer gets a lot of hype and he’s a good player, but he’s not– he’s not as twitchy as some of these guys who go on to play in the League, like that. Now, maybe they’re wrong about some of that…”
Is most of that fair? Absolutely. Drew Pyne has been bad for the last three games — that doesn’t mean they should be playing Steve Angeli — and saying Notre Dame is “ordinary” at wide receiver is honestly probably a compliment.
But downplaying Michael Mayer’s talent? No wonder he keeps clowning opposing defenses.
I’m obviously assuming that Bud Elliott’s quote is a true and representative report on the comments of some opposing coaches. I’m also not going to blast Elliott for it because he’s just reporting what he’s been told and (apparently) not agreeing with all of it. But as for every coach who badmouthed Mayer? To quote Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon. What an ignoranimus.”
OK, maybe Mayer isn’t “twitchy” in the truest since of the word. So he didn’t make Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List. Big whoop.
But Mayer converts third down passes as he trips over his own feet. He jumps high enough to nearly make a one-handed catch of a gross overthrow in quadruple coverage. He catches passes with one hand while blinded and being interfered with.
His routes are as smooth as a baby’s bottom. His hands are so reliable that he’ll throw his gloves into the crowd before the fourth quarter even starts. His chin alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body. He is the most interesting tight end in the world.
Good luck to any coach who 1) actually believes Mayer’s twitchiness makes him a typical college tight end, or 2) is trying to cover his ass by pointing out the one flaw in the best tight end in Notre Dame history (and probably the best in the country).