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Tuesday Video Breakdown - Keith Marshall, Cheetahs, and the Windmill

We're starting a new series here at DawgSports entitled the Tuesday Video Breakdown. The TVB is intended to be a post that will examine one particular play or set of plays from the previous week's Georgia game, and it will highlight a particular piece of that play. This could be an Xs and Os thing that doesn't stand out at first glance, or it could simply be a play that stood out as a particularly interesting play. Without further ado, I give you our inaugural TVB, 'Keith Marshall is a cheetah.'

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

In the Georgia vs. Vanderbilt game two weeks ago, Keith Marshall had a 52 yard touchdown run that, essentially, gave the Dawg Nation its first real look at the elite speed that he possesses. The run was impressive, to be sure, as Marshall rushed just inside the left tackle, cut back a time or two, and then turned on the jets to split the two safeties playing deep contain, essentially leaving the entire Vanderbilt defense in the dust. The thing that stood out to me the most, however, was that when Marshall cut back to the right when getting into the second level, he made a sort of windmill motion with his right arm. I thought this was interesting because it was clear that Marshall's little windmill motion was used to help with balance. I assumed Marshall must've lost his footing ever so slightly, and was using his arm to help regain his balance so as not to be swallowed by the ever-dangerous Turf Monster. Take a look at his run at the 3:26 mark in the video here:

Last week, though, while watching the Tennessee game, on Marshall's first touchdown run of the day - a 75 yard sweep around the left end on Georgia's third drive - I saw him use the windmill motion once more. This time, it wasn't as noticeable, but when he cut to the right, he once again waved his arm in the same sort of fashion I'd seen him do a week before against James Franklin's Commodores. Watch closely here at the 0:27 mark (seriously, you'll have to watch very closely, because he only does it briefly as he's cutting), and you'll see the quick windmill of the arm when he sweeps around the end:

Later in the game, in the second half, Marshall once again broke a long run for a score, this time in a very similar fashion to his touchdown run against Vanderbilt, in which he split the defense after running just inside the left tackle and cutting back to the middle of the field. During this run, Marshall used his windmill tactic yet again, waving his right arm in a forward circular motion each time he cut back to the right from the left side of the field. Watch here at the 2:16 mark as he uses his windmill tactic several times, making the run look almost exactly the same as it did against Vanderbilt.

The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) can run faster than any other land animal, reaching speeds of 70-75 mph over short bursts, and can also accelerate from 0 to 60 in three seconds. To me, though, what's intriguing about the cheetah is that, because the cat is so fast, it needs a means of maintaining balance when making turns at a high rate of speed while chasing prey. In order to help facilitate this, the cheetah has a long, heavy tail that is used as a means of balance. When the cheetah gets ready to go into a sharp turn, you'll see the tail spin in a windmill like motion in the direction of the turn, in order to help balance the weight and allow the animal to make the turn without losing its footing. Now, the most interesting thing about all this is that this clearly isn't just a coincidence, or something that can be chalked up to the way Marshall runs, in the fashion that Michael Vick always carried the football like a loaf of bread when he broke out of the pocket on long runs. Whether Marshall is consciously thinking about it or not, just like the cheetah, this is a means for him to add balance to his runs, as he's simply too fast to be able to quickly change directions without some other means of controlling his weight. Take a look at the 0:15 mark of this video of a cheetah running in the wild, and you tell me that the similarity isn't uncanny:

Well, folks, this has been the first edition of the Tuesday Video Breakdown, and, if you haven't noticed Marshall's windmill before, be sure to be on the lookout for it in the future, because, like chuckdawg says, "you know why I love the windmill? 'Cause it means whoop ass is comin'!"

As always, Go Dawgs!