There are few months worse than August. February is kind of a kick in the junk. December is cold, but it has Christmas and the final weeks of football season.
August is the worst. Sweat begins to build a small community with a shopping mall and beads store in the small of your back, the only news to come out of the month-long training camp is bad: injuries, holdouts. It's holiday-free. Back to school.
Thankfully, September is nearly here. More importantly, football season is here. It's game week. I imagine many of you have taken the intelligent route and chosen to avoid all the preseason predictions and prognostications associated with August. In fact, you may even be making your first appearance on the blog now that the season has arrived. (I'm not happy with you and your case is under review with the GoBearcats.com commish)
So, I figured this would be a great time to recap all the preseason comings and goings with the Bearcats and give you the Cliff's Notes version of the month of August for the UC football team.
It's essentially the midseason clips show every sitcom uses. They're not popular, but they serve a purpose.
On to the Bearcats...
--- Camp opened with the disappointing news that Tennessee transfer WR Kenbrell Thompkins would be ineligible this season. The good news was the NCAA granted Thompkins two years of eligibility beginning next season instead of the one he likely would have had to play this year.
Bottom line, Thompkins played well in the spring and with the decision, and also the uncertainty of the still pending case of star freshman recruit Dyjuan Lewis the Bearcats are surprisingly thin at what was supposed to be a deep position.
--- Zach Collaros is back and has looked as sharp as ever. I've done a lot of radio shows this preseason and the question I hear over and over again is wondering if Collaros is ready to be a full-time QB.
To me, his readiness is the closest to a sure thing on this team.
Collaros is a natural leader, looks sharper than ever and was born to run this spread offense where Jones uses more of the QBs running skills than Brian Kelly did.
Plus, if you take his numbers from the four games he played in last year and play them out over 12 games, you could argue he returns with the most impressive resume of any returning QB in the country.
--- Have any other player you are wondering about? Want to hear what his position coach has to say about him? Just go here.
--- The team spent the last two weeks at Higher Ground Retreat Center and Butch Jones loved it. He plans on bringing the team back from the first day of practice forward next year.
Today they will practice on their new practice field at the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex for the first time.
--- The defense is the question mark. The players on the defensive side of the ball are sick of hearing about it.
Walter Stewart and Maalik Bomar added 44 pounds of muscle this offseason to do something about it.
The defensive line depth is a big reason for it and freshman Roney Lozano is at the top of a list of anywhere from 7-10 true freshmen Butch Jones believes will see playing time.
In a couple of scrimmages, the defense held its own.
--- OT C.J. Cobb sacrificed his summer to assure he returned healthy in time for his senior season. Considering the depth of the position, it's a good thing he did. You should root for C.J. Cobb.
--- In the past four years senior WR Marcus Barnett inked 85 tattoos. Or at least that was the count five days ago when I interviewed him. I imagine he could be anywhere from 86-90 by gameday.
D.J. Woods only has eight. Lazy.
--- The Bearcats were picked tied for second in the Big East preseason poll with WVU. Pitt was first and could possibly have three first-round draft picks next April. UConn was fourth, but some pundits including Kirk Herbstreit like the Huskies to win it all. Going to Hartford at the end of November will be no picnic for UC.
--- UC ranked No. 26 in the preseason AP poll.
--- As Bill Koch pointed out, Butch Jones is not Brian Kelly. Don't expect him to be.
--- UC at Fresno State, 10 p.m., Saturday night, ESPN2. Finally.
--- Keep checking back here for the daily breakfast along with plenty of other game week stories and features.