This post is sponsored by Labatt Blue, who invites you to visit RefreshmentDuo.com, where you can enter to win a ticket for you and a friend to attend a massive concert and party with the Refreshment Duo and Blue Light girls.
When I started drinking beer, I was disgusted by the Natti Lights, Busch's, and every other watered down beer. Because it took me longer than usual to get a taste for those beers, I needed something to drink in the meantime. I couldn't go straight into buying Heineken and Sam Adams...because I didn't have any money. Enter Labatt Blue, cheaper than the high end beer and better tasting than PBR and the like. For about a year, that Labatt sustained me. Whenever I drink a Labatts, I still think of sitting around beaten up wooden tables at Miami (OH) and drinkings pints of Labatts. Not bad times.
Onto the football. Labatt offered TRE an opportunity to write about an outstanding Big Ten duo and thus to promote their delicious beer and that wondrous pole-sliding-down duo from their commercials. I believe I was the first blogger to respond to this opportunity, because I know two things: 1) I love beer, football, and promotions involving the two. 2) While the Big Ten may not feature possibly bisexual hotties as their official mascot, it does feature the best defensive line in the nation, anchored by a pair of freakish defensive ends in Adrian Clayborn and Broderick Binns.
We've talked enough about Clayborn's monstrous 2009 season and frankly, so has everyone else. All-Big Ten First Team. Iowa's most important player. The leader and Godfather of the Big Ten's best defense. Future first round pick. Blah blahhhhhh...What exactly did Clayborn do to deserve all this praise? All you need to do is watch the Georgia Tech game on rewind and you'll see his amazing attributes on parade. GT attempted cut blocks, only to watch AC deftly push the blockers away from his knees and make nine (?) first half tackles. GT attempted to double team on pass routes. Clayborn's high motor and agility allowed him to keep fighting and make his way to the Tech QB.
It didn't hurt to be surrounded by an NFL bound linebacker whose best friend was a dog and a couple ball hawking safeties. But one of the overlooked studs who took pressure off AC is the other DE, long armed Broderick Binns. You could find him breaking up passes in 2009, shredding the Penn State O-Line, and earning All-Conference Honorable Mention. Only a junior, Binns is overlooked and under hyped, but why? Three main reasons: 1) Excelled statistically against crap O-Line's (Iowa State, PSU, Michigan, Minnesota...I don't even think people in the state of Michigan had the option of watching the Iowa-Mini game), 2) Clayborn Himself, and 3) Iowa's defensive depth. Ryan Kerrigan stands out in West Lafayette because he's a big time player among Purdue's other low-level defenders. Binns has to fight for attention with Christian Ballard, Tyler Sash, and other big names hogging the spotlight.
Is it hyperbole to call Iowa's defensive line the best in the nation? Probably, but overblown hyperbole keeps us going in the offseason, so let's not denigrate it too much. Turn your eyes to Binns and Clayborn this Fall if you want to see athletic, disruptive defensive end play. And turn your taste buds toward a cold Labatt Blue Light to help you ease the pain of knowing there is still three months until college football starts.