Five Lessons for the Padres From Ohio St and Oregon Football

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Marcus Mariota has looked and acted like the best player in college football all season. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3) A Player Leads by Deed and Example

Did you see the acceptance speech by Marcus Mariota? If not, watch it here, then come back for the rest of this article. In it he thanked his parents and how growing up in Hawaii many thought he would never make it out of the island. How many college programs offered Marcus Mariota a scholarship to play football? Only one. Only Oregon. I’d say it worked out.

When Mariota came to Oregon he was criticized for being quiet on the field, as he is not the fiery personality many want out of a quarterback or perhaps expect at the college level. Instead he went out and did his work and won his teammates over by his actions. Each season he has gotten more vocal and now there is no question who the leader of the team is.

In a college football landscape where his contemporaries are Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel, who have brushes with the law and seen yelling at their coaches during the games, Mariota seems years ahead in maturity.

One thing the Padres have lacked is a player who really leads the team. Chase Headley never seemed to do it. I think back to even David Eckstein in his short time on the Padres, how his hustle was contagious especially among the younger players.

I’m looking at you Matt Kemp here. I’m hoping that Kemp can take ownership of this baseball team, bring together the egos between himself and Justin Upton, mentor Wil Myers who was rumored to have a work ethic problem last season, and lead by example to take this team to the next level. Kemp knows what winning teams need, and it goes beyond the confines of Petco Park.

The Padres need Kemp to hit how he is expected to hit and bring a veteran leadership presence to the clubhouse that has been lacking. He gained a bit of reputation in LA as arguing over time last season in a crowded outfield, and didn’t exactly endure himself to Padres fans by waiting outside the clubhouse after the ’13 Carlos Quentin fracas ready to fight Q.

We need a mature Kemp who understands his unspoken rule to be the big brother to the Padres players and be a professional. I expect him to pull it off, and believe his emotions will bring an energy lacking from previous seasons since the days of Phil Nevin.