I spent much of the week talking to players and coaches about J.K. Schaffer. I felt like he was deserving of a feature, but was looking for an angle. Some players have an amazing backstory like Mardy Gilyard or a controversial mouth like Chad Ochocinco and the stories flow off the fingers.
J.K. is a little different. He comes from a solid background, he says all the right things, does all the right things, seemingly never misses a tackle and is the picture of consistency.
Perfect for a coach, but not a headline grabber for a writer. But, despite the fact he's so confident his LaSalle Lancers are going to beat my Moeller Crusaders for the first time in 94 years on Friday, I felt like his story shined because of all the atributes I mentioned above. Too often, we don't appreciate consistency. We don't appreciate the tireless worker. We don't appreciate the good guy.
Well, at least for one story, I wanted to emphasize the importance of consistency and work ethic on this team. You can't talk about that without talking about J.K. Schaffer. Great player, better guy.
Also, here are a few extras I wasn't able to squeeze into the story:
J.K. Schaffer on consistency:
"I just want to roll my sleeves up and get out there and get the job done becaue my coaches expect me to be a real consistent guy. They expect me to be the same guy all the time and get my job done and help my teammates do their job, too."
J.K. on his college decision (I will point out that my alma mater OU was the only other school smart enough to extend an offer to the Schaffer):
"I wanted to come (to UC). That was my first choice if I was getting this offer I was taking it. I made sure to get recruited by the MAC schools. I didn't try for
"I love playing Miami."
Kerry Coombs on what he saw from JK when he recruited him at LaSalle and spotting attributes important to the program:
"The thing I noticed watching J.K. in high school was he was always at the ball. When you got guys that are always at the ball they are going to be good players. You got to sometime throw out some of the measurables that everybody else goes by. I don't care who else is recruiting kids, because I think that is the biggest farce going. Our focus is, "Do they fit what we need?' If they are our kind of guys and they fit what we need, then we are going to offer them a scholarship regardless of whether they've been offered by every school in the country or nobody in the country, because that is of no concern."
Coombs on what makes JK special:
"We wouldn't have been wrong with J.K. Schaffer if he never played a down because he's such a quality person to make your team better. The fact he's come in from the very first day and competed is indicative of what kind of player - he's going to play in the NFL. He has everything about him, but it doesn't define him."
Coombs on why J.K. has been so effective this year:
"I think the scheme fits what he does, he's an incredible student of the game, so he doesn't get fooled, he doesn't make mistakes. And he's a very sure tackler. You don't just make tackles because you're at the ball you also have to be a physical tackler who comes to balance well. J.K. has tremendous closing speed and great power and very, very good balance. Anybody who watched the interception against
Butch Jones on Schaffer:
"Part of being a great linebacker is having great instincts. J.K. has great instincts and he's very intelligent. He puts his time in. That doesn't happen by chance, it happens with film study, work ethic. He has made himself a player. That is what is so rewarding to watch him play, is that he's a self-made player. He's a self-made man."
LB Maalik Bomar on how Schaffer helped him work into the role:
"Especially in film room. We will sit there together and watch film. He'll tell me what I'm thinking and ask me what I'm thinking and basically it is like that to see if we are on the same page. That is what's helping us today, we think basically on the same page.
All right, just wanted to let some of those quotes see the light day, 1) because I spent the time to gather them and 2) because I think it's interesting insight to how much people respect Schaffer and what he does.
Anyway, let's eat...
--- No TV station dedicates more time to delivering all the sports news in town like Fox19. Rontina McCann had this report from UC this week.
--- The AP's Joe Kay pieced together a number of nuggets for a story about UC regaining its swagger.
--- Former St. X running back Darius Ashley moved over to defense for Louisville and could see some time at corner Firday night against UC.
--- Hearing names like Ed Jucker and Tony Yates celebrated can't help but remind you of the proud basketball tradition at the school. UC celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its back-to-back championship teams on Wednesday. Here's the story from Bill Koch, who no longer has a van for sale, in case you were wondering.
--- Koch wrote that RT Alex Hoffman will not play on Friday against Louisville.
It's a blow for UC, who saw a resurgence of the offensive line the last two games after Hoffman and Cobb switched positions. After allowing 15 sacks through the first three games, they only allowed four the last two.
--- Here is the full injury report for Friday's game against Louisville. The notables are, as previously discussed, Alex Hoffman for UC. For UL, RB Victor Anderson won't play. That just mean more Bilal Powell, which probably woulnd't be considered the best news the Bearcats have heard.
--- Sam Elliot talks about the clean slate the Big East provides for the News Record.
--- Brian Bennett talks about two key matchups that will decide the Keg O'Lies. UC rush defense vs. Bilal Powell and UC offense vs. UL defense, particularly in the trenches where he thinks UC can overpower a smaller Cardinals front.
--- B-twice also predicts UC will win. That might not be the best news, however, considering he went 0-2 in conference play predictions last week.
--- Great news as former UC long snapper Mike Windt, who spent the preseason with the Bengals, was signed by San Diego yesterday.
Windt played well in the preseason, didn't miss a snap and even recovered a fumble on special teams, but wasn't going to unseat incumbent Clark Harris unless Harris played especially poor. Great to see his effort didn't go unnoticed. Best of luck to him because that position runs on as short a leash as exists in the NFL. He's the fifth LS for the Chargers this season.
--- Some randomness...
--- Zach Galiafanakis produced another genius Between Two Ferns, this time with Bruce Willis.
Here's a sample question: "When you were making The Whole Ten Yards, were you ever worried it might be TOO good?"
--- I am sarcastically flabbergasted I didn't make this list.
--- Sports Pickle nails the pop culture story of the day...again.
--- Mounting elephants can be awkward. Although, I can't imagine it being more awkward than this. (H/t Hot Clicks)