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Tribal Warfare
08-03-2011, 02:51 AM
The Meanest Man in College Football: Vontaze Burfict (http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2011-07-28/the-meanest-man-in-college-football-vontaze-burfict)

We begin with a story because it’s those tales of you’re-not-going-to-believe-this moments that best describe Vontaze Burfict.

It was Week 3 of his freshman season in 2009, barely two months removed from the first time he had strapped on pads at Arizona State, walked onto the practice field and shown he was the best player in the park.

Deep into the fourth quarter on a steamy night in Athens, Ga., the score was tied. The player Georgia coach Mark Richt would later say “should be playing in the (NFL) right now” saw from his middle linebacker spot that the defensive front was lined up incorrectly. So he did the unthinkable.

As the umpire walked away after marking the ball ready for play, Burfict pushed the official into the Georgia line of scrimmage to stop the play and allow the defense to reset.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler says. “I said to one of our coaches,

‘Did he just do what I think he just did?’ ”

And that’s just half the story.

After the reset, with Georgia in a goal-line power formation, Burfict timed the snap, leapt over the line of scrimmage, his body flying into Bulldogs fullback Fred Munzenmaier and disrupting the play. As quickly as he landed, he popped up to his knees and pulled Munzenmaier down for a loss.

“For every great story you have about Vontaze,” says Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, “another guy on another team will say he has one better.”

Here’s the best one of all: The toughest, meanest, nastiest player in the college game—the guy opponents fear and officials target, the guy once benched by his own coach because his violent makeup led to too many personal fouls—barely says two words away from his 53⅓-by-100-yard lined playground.

He is the ultimate enigma. A shy and reserved son who loves his mother and football and focuses on little else and a destructive, intimidating linebacker whose exploits have become so famous—or infamous, depending on how you see it—he has become a YouTube phenom.

Don’t believe it? Type Vontaze Burfict into the search field, and watch the ensuing carnage.

A Pac-12 coach calls him “deliciously violent.” An NFL scout calls him “what you get after you kick Ray Lewis’ dog.”

When told this story would proclaim him the “meanest man in college football,” four soft words escaped with one breath:

“I would love that.”

After an offseason of turmoil, after both teams that played in last year’s BCS national championship game find themselves in the middle of NCAA investigations, a crossroads season begins with little certainty about where the game is headed.

Leave it to a guy who idolizes Ray Lewis and Dick Butkus, who at 6-3, 252 pounds has eye-popping closing speed, to bring it all into focus. The game is still about blocking and tackling and X’s and O’s and ultimately about who plays defense.

It’s the Arizona State defense—and Burfict’s place in it—that reveals some delicious possibilities this fall for the Sun Devils: perhaps a Pac-12 championship, a national championship and maybe even a Heisman Trophy run for the nation’s best defensive player. All from a team that finished 6-6 last season and from a player very few know about outside the West Coast.

So while every television bobblehead and basement blogger knows every statistic connected to Luck and his fabulous right arm, maybe it’s time to go retro and celebrate the beauty that is violence. Unvarnished, unhinged, unreal physical violence.


“I know one thing,” says Oregon State coach Mike Riley. “Somebody is taking a blow every play (Burfict is) on the field.”

Poor Russel Hill. The Idaho State quarterback was just trying to get through a game two years ago when his FCS Bengals played rent-a-victim for Arizona State in the season opener. That was also Burfict’s first game—Idaho State was the first opponent to experience the terror that is Burfict.

Midway through a typical blowout game against an FCS patsy, Burfict left his zone responsibility as Hill rolled left out of the pocket. Burfict’s rush from his spot 5 yards off the line of scrimmage to 5 yards into the backfield was so fast and furious, Hill could not avoid the collision.

Burfict hit Hill so hard with a textbook tackle—shoulder pads in stomach—Hill was knocked about four feet off the ground and four feet back before Burfict drove him into the turf.

“That kind of opened everybody else’s eyes,” Arizona State linebacker Colin Parker says, “but we knew what we had.”

Arizona State knew what it had on the field. But away from the field, away from the collisions and destruction that play out like a video game, there is real life—and there are reasons the most violent player on the field becomes the quietest person in the room like the flip of a switch.

There is a boy growing up in a single-parent household, who was named after a father who hasn’t seen or spoken to him in years. A boy raised by a mother who did all she could to protect her children, so she eventually moved from the streets of Los Angeles to Corona, Calif., because she could take no more.

“I earned my ‘I survived South Central’ T-shirt,” says Burfict’s mom, Lisa Williams. “I wasn’t going to put my kids through that anymore.”

Burfict, at age 12, devised a plan of his own. He’d go to the NFL and with his first paycheck buy his mother a beautiful home. When as a young man he recognized he couldn’t fulfill that dream without correcting his academic shortfalls, he made another decision that will someday help him take care of the mother who’d always taken care of him.

Burfict was a sophomore in high school when he decided he had to leave home and stay for weeks at a time with the family of Tia Magee, an academic counselor and mother of his Centennial High School—and current Arizona State—teammate Brandon Magee. Burfict was ineligible for nearly his entire sophomore season, and he had to make up a year and a half of coursework with summer school, night classes and independent courses over the next two years.

From near academic casualty to a player former USC coach Pete Carroll whined about upon losing the recruiting battle to Arizona State, Burfict now is arguably the most gifted—and complicated—player in the game.

“I’ve never seen anyone who can change his personality so quickly and so differently,” Arizona State defensive tackle Bo Moos says. “It’s almost like it’s building up and building up, and then he releases it when he’s in pads and gets on the field. Then you see the plays he makes, and it blows your mind.”

Like the first day of pads at ASU, when the sound of one of his hits reverberated.

“The entire practice just stopped,” former Sun Devils assistant coach and current Duke passing game coordinator Matt Lubick says. “We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Whoa, we’ve got something here.’ ”

Or the play against Washington in 2009, when Burfict shot the gap on a fly sweep, knocked the guard off his feet and made the tackle. During film study, coaches replayed the moment over and over in sheer disbelief.

“I swear to God, he decleated a 325-pound guy,” Moos says. “You wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t on film.”

Or the play last year against Oregon, a game many NFL scouts say defines Burfict’s talent—which lies in his ability to chase and pursue from one side of the play to the other without giving up ground or explosive power—because the Ducks run read option plays where the quarterback reads the defensive tackle and directs the flow of the play away from his pursuit.

Burfict shot the gap, knocking Oregon guard Carson York into the backfield and forcing Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas to commit to handing off to tailback LaMichael James. Burfict then tackled both York and James—460-plus pounds of player—at the same time for a 5-yard loss.

“You’re thinking he can’t do that,” former Oregon center Jordan Holmes says, “and then he does it, and you’re left thinking, Holy cow.”

Or two years ago against Oregon State, when the Beavers ran a simple isolation play with tailback Jacquizz Rodgers. Left guard Grant Johnson was pulling to the right side. Burfict negotiated traffic, burst through a hole as the play was stringing out and hit Johnson—who was in front of Rodgers blocking—with such force that the near-300-pounder flew into Rodgers and put him on the turf.

“Oh yeah, I remember that one,” says James Rodgers, Jacquizz’s brother and then-Oregon State teammate. “Players, we see a lot of stuff on the field. It’s not often that you’re left saying, ‘Did he just do that?’ ”

Almost always, he did, and here’s the best part about it: He’s already moving on to the next play, the next adjustment, the next chance to get better. In this age of chest thumping, me-first peacocks primping and posturing for all to see, Burfict is a rarity.

He doesn’t really care about the highlight reel. In fact, he has never seen his videos on YouTube and doesn’t plan on searching. The game, he says, is simple: The toughest guy wins.

“Especially in the position I play,” Burfict says. “I can’t be soft. I’m going against 300-pound guys coming at me full speed. You’ve got to bring that violence.”

Sometimes that hellbent style does more harm than good. At least in the eyes of officials. Since that first game against Idaho State, he has built a unique relationship with them: He doesn’t like them, they don’t like him.

Arizona State has become so concerned about officials targeting Burfict, they sent game tape to the league office this offseason so new Pac-12 coordinator of officials Tony Corrente could better evaluate the situation. The league fired 11 officials after last season, and although commissioner Larry Scott didn’t give specifics, a Pac-12 source said poor and inconsistent calls during and after plays—including personal foul calls—were determining factors.

“People paint him as a monster, make it seem like he’s eating babies or something,” ASU linebacker Oliver Aaron says. “When he’s on the field, he’s not saying nice things; it’s definitely R-rated. Then you see him making plays 99 percent of the guys don’t make, and you can see how (officials) may have it out for him.

Every play is a highlight.”

So everyone has a story. Like the time Burfict—from one knee—threw a perfect spiral 60 yards in practice.

Or the time in a high school all-star game when a game of rock, paper, scissors with a teammate allowed him one carry at tailback—a carry he took 73 yards for a touchdown.

Or when people would tell Lisa Williams that her youngest son wouldn’t make it, that he’d be a “street thug” because he didn’t like school and didn’t want to put in the effort to change.

Or when, after yet another All-American-level performance last season, Burfict stood outside the gates at Sun Devil Stadium and signed autographs and mingled with young fans long after the crowd of players and coaches had thinned out.

“I told Junior, I’m so proud of who you have become,” Williams says. “He looked at me and said, ‘Mom, that was me once before.’ ”

For every story you’ll hear about Vontaze Burfict, someone somewhere will have one better.

SuperChief
08-03-2011, 09:13 AM
Seriously . . . what an incredible article. Very, very well written. This makes me want to take a look at the kid on YouTube.

Tribal Warfare
08-03-2011, 11:58 AM
Seriously . . . what an incredible article. Very, very well written. This makes me want to take a look at the kid on YouTube.


<iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KvcsffTQojI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Bump
08-03-2011, 12:09 PM
draft him?

Trevo_410
08-03-2011, 02:47 PM
Mizzou going to kick the shit out of him.

shitgoose
08-03-2011, 02:49 PM
Bone Crusher 2.0

Bewbies
08-03-2011, 03:05 PM
If Cassel doesn't poop his pants this year this is probably the guy I want most.

milkman
08-03-2011, 05:52 PM
If Cassel doesn't poop his pants this year this is probably the guy I want most.

If Cassel doesn't "poop" his pants, then we won't be picking high enough for this guy.

Pestilence
08-03-2011, 05:53 PM
This guy is going to earn himself a ton of fines in the NFL.

Direckshun
08-03-2011, 07:36 PM
God. In no way is this guy a Pioli player, but sure enough, we're going to hear a thousand arguments all offseason as to why Pioli will break an exception for him.

Bewbies
08-03-2011, 08:55 PM
If Cassel doesn't "poop" his pants, then we won't be picking high enough for this guy.

A guy can dream can't he?

Demonpenz
08-03-2011, 09:18 PM
The game isn't played the way he is playing in that clip anymore

CoMoChief
08-04-2011, 04:05 AM
God. In no way is this guy a Pioli player, but sure enough, we're going to hear a thousand arguments all offseason as to why Pioli will break an exception for him.

I think some people look too much into the whole right 53 pioli type player thing...just my opinion.

SNR
08-04-2011, 06:07 AM
Has Kirk Ferentz coached the kid at any point whatsoever?

Direckshun
08-04-2011, 01:06 PM
I think some people look too much into the whole right 53 pioli type player thing...just my opinion.

Honestly, if I were you I'd just start learning how to say Riley Rieff.

Offensive tackle for Iowa, which is Ferenz's specialty position.

He's going to be a Chief next April in the first round.

Nightfyre
08-04-2011, 07:12 PM
Honestly, if I were you I'd just start learning how to say Riley Rieff.

Offensive tackle for Iowa, which is Ferenz's specialty position.

He's going to be a Chief next April in the first round.

Another first round OT prediction. How cliche.

Tribal Warfare
08-08-2011, 02:05 PM
Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict punches teammate (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/campusrivalry/post/2011/08/arizona-state-vontaze-burfict-fight-teammate/1)

Arizona State junior Vontaze Burfict, one of the nation's top linebackers, had an incident with a teammate, though conflicting details have emerged about the seriousness of the altercation.

The Arizona Republic has confirmed an exchange between Burfict and wide receiver Kevin Ozier took place after practice last week. According to one person, Burfict waited for Ozier in the locker room. Burfict threw a punch, Ozier threw a punch and the fight was broken up. According to people, neither player was injured.

The incident was first reported by SPORTSbyBROOKS.com. That story described the incident as Burfict "sucker-punching" Ozier, who was then initially unresponsive after the blow knocked him to the ground.

Arizona State spokesman Mark Brand called many parts of the SPORTSbyBROOKS story "completely false." Burfict did not attend the team's media day Saturday.

Burfict has practiced every day since the incident. According to one person, Arizona State has a 12-player panel that deals with in-house issues and the altercation was addressed. It's not known if Burfict or Ozier was disciplined.

Burfict is a preseason All-America candidate after recording 90 tackles as a sophomore last season.

Over his career, Burfict's temper has gotten him into trouble at practice and on the game field. Erickson benched him last season for first quarter against Washington following a head-butting personal foul the previous week against Oregon State.

Erickson has praised Burfict for better behavior during spring practice and fall camp.

Nightfyre
08-08-2011, 04:24 PM
Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict punches teammate (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/campusrivalry/post/2011/08/arizona-state-vontaze-burfict-fight-teammate/1)

Arizona State junior Vontaze Burfict, one of the nation's top linebackers, had an incident with a teammate, though conflicting details have emerged about the seriousness of the altercation.

The Arizona Republic has confirmed an exchange between Burfict and wide receiver Kevin Ozier took place after practice last week. According to one person, Burfict waited for Ozier in the locker room. Burfict threw a punch, Ozier threw a punch and the fight was broken up. According to people, neither player was injured.

The incident was first reported by SPORTSbyBROOKS.com. That story described the incident as Burfict "sucker-punching" Ozier, who was then initially unresponsive after the blow knocked him to the ground.

Arizona State spokesman Mark Brand called many parts of the SPORTSbyBROOKS story "completely false." Burfict did not attend the team's media day Saturday.

Burfict has practiced every day since the incident. According to one person, Arizona State has a 12-player panel that deals with in-house issues and the altercation was addressed. It's not known if Burfict or Ozier was disciplined.

Burfict is a preseason All-America candidate after recording 90 tackles as a sophomore last season.

Over his career, Burfict's temper has gotten him into trouble at practice and on the game field. Erickson benched him last season for first quarter against Washington following a head-butting personal foul the previous week against Oregon State.

Erickson has praised Burfict for better behavior during spring practice and fall camp.


I wonder if I can determine the veracity of this story.

Tribal Warfare
09-14-2011, 02:46 AM
Arizona State’s Burfict brings the heat (http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/sep/09/arizona-states-burfict-brings-the-heat/)
By David Briggs

Friday, September 9, 2011

Colin Parker remembers the sounds. Both of them.

It was the most vicious hit he had ever seen. Parker watched along with a crowd of 42,588 at Sun Devil Stadium — and later 141,000 viewers on YouTube — as Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict amended the laws of gravity.

With 4:09 remaining in the third quarter of Burfict’s collegiate debut two years ago, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound true freshman sighted Idaho State quarterback Russell Hill rolling left and began an unimpeded 13-yard sprint from his position at the 30-yard-line. At 4:07, Burfict met his target on the 43, lowered his head slightly and wrapped his arms around the quarterback’s waist. At 4:05, he deposited Hill on the 48.

“The whole sideline and the whole stadium, there was a collective, ‘Ooooohhh,’ ” Parker said.

Burfict was 18 then. The gasps have not stopped.

“From then on,” said Parker, an ASU linebacker, “we all kind of knew what we had, that he was something special.”

Tonight in Tempe, Ariz., Missouri will meet the man who’s been called the meanest, toughest and most violent player in college football. An NFL scout described Burfict to the Sporting News as “what you get after you kick Ray Lewis’ dog.”

Burfict will be the most disruptive defender the No. 21 Tigers face this season.

While ultra-courteous MU quarterback James Franklin is prone to congratulate opponents after big hits, that may change if he lands in the crosshairs of No. 7 in black.

A combination of strength — he once decleated a 325-pound Washington guard on a sweep before making the tackle — and speed, Burfict is the leader of a veteran defense resolved to lead ASU to its first winning season since 2007.

Burfict rarely speaks with reporters and was not made available for interviews this week. But he is a high-profile player in Missouri’s eyes.

“You’ve got to know where he’s at,” Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said.

“Definitely the heart and soul of their defense,” said receiver Wes Kemp, who politely called Burfict a “high-energy guy.”

Where he focuses that energy — into a game-changing performance or an attention-diverting rage — could make all the difference.

A former five-star recruit from Corona, Calif., Burfict has been one of the game’s top linebackers from the start. He was named Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year and led the Sun Devils with 90 tackles — including 8½ for a loss — last season. Multiple national publications named the preseason All-American the best defensive player in college football.

But Burfict has often struggled with his emotions. In the past year, he has head-butted Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz, drawn several personal fouls and tussled with a teammate. Last month, the website Sportsbybrooks.com reported that Burfict sucker-punched ASU wide receiver Kevin Ozier inside the team’s locker room after the two scuffled during practice. The website reported that Ozier “was initially unresponsive after Burfict delivered the brutal, blindside shot to his head.”

Team spokesman Mark Brand told the Arizona Republic that parts of the report were “completely false,” but the newspaper confirmed an altercation. The Republic reported that Burfict waited for Ozier and the teammates exchanged blows before the fight was broken up. Neither player was reportedly injured.

Sun Devils Coach Dennis Erickson downplayed the incident. He said Burfict is growing into a leader and has matured “a heck of a lot,” though he appreciates the linebacker’s passion.

“Does he still have a lot of fire? Oh, yeah,” Erickson said last month. “Will he get a penalty or two during the season? Probably.”

Away from the football facility, Parker described Burfict as quiet and shy, even a “little goofy.”

“But when he steps on the field,” he said, “a switch flips.”

Urc Burry
09-14-2011, 09:34 PM
^^ That hits at the :10 second mark
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If we don't QB, I think this is our man

aturnis
09-15-2011, 11:23 PM
Honestly, if I were you I'd just start learning how to say Riley Rieff.

Offensive tackle for Iowa, which is Ferenz's specialty position.

He's going to be a Chief next April in the first round.

Hope not...Brooks Reid tore him up last year.

aturnis
09-15-2011, 11:26 PM
Burfict is a cheap shot artist. Dunno that I like him. Fines and suspensions could be a plenty for him. On the other hand, Suh does some REALLY questionable shit and has really changed the feel around that team. If Burfict could do that, who knows...wish he was a bit better in coverage.