Tuesday almost felt like a gameday at spring practice with all the media that showed up for Day 1. Of course, we won't see most of them again until the Bearcat Bowl on April 16, but that's for another blog.
Always a good time chatting with the scribe contingent. Congrats out to the News Record Sports Editor Sam Elliott, who helped me out at GoBearcats some last season, on landing a job outside of St. Louis. It's good to know some newspapers are still hiring talented people when all you hear about is them being laid off.
Also, congrats to Bill Koch, who appears close to selling his 39-inch TV that weighs 164 pounds. By selling, I mean tricking someone into picking it up from his house.
--- I put together this story on senior lineman Alex Hoffman. He'll be the rock on this year's offensive line that's going through yet another rebuild after losing starters Jason Kelce, C.J. Cobb and Sam Griffin.
Hoffman will be a great guy to talk to all year. He's personable, likeable and knowledgeable about the game.
When we were talking about his offseason workout program he said he's been taking part in strength and conditioning coach Dave Lawson's jump rope sessions to improve footwork. He said he's not exactly a jump rope star yet, but can get the job done.
My goal is to see all 300 pounds of Alex Hoffman with the youth girls jump rope crew at halftime of a UC hoops game next season.
Hoffman didn't seem as keen on that idea.
--- ESPN's Brian Bennett was in the bubble yesterday and said he'll be visiting Pitt and Notre Dame as well this spring. He posted this video preview before he left and he wrote a blog on his observations from the practice.
He started by talking about the bubble, which I forgot to mention in the Pro Day post. That was my first time in there as well. I can only imagine the recruiting tool this facility will be. Combine the professional practice facilities (or better than professional in this town) along with playing multiple games each year at Paul Brown Stadium and you have two monster draws for top high school players.
--- Despite taking multiple showers, I'm still covered in irony from seeing Marvin Lewis inside a bubble in the city of Cincinnati on Monday.
--- Bill Koch wrote his piece on Zach Collaros. He was the unanimous first-team all-Big East QB last season, but many fans they were critical of his play. Make no mistake, 2010 was a huge adjustment for Collaros. He'd never been under consistent pressure as he was last year and it forced to him to make some tough throws trying to make plays. He's working this year on better decision-making and, in particular, knowing when to throw the ball away and punt rather than make difficult throws into traffic that lead to turnovers.
That said, he's currently the best QB in the Big East (apologies to Geno Smith) and the reason UC can contend for a title.
--- If there was any quasi-news to come out of the day, it was Butch Jones saying that finding a No. 2 quarterback was a primary concern this spring. Despite Chazz Anderson as the incumbent, he won't be handed the keys. Brendon Kay, Munchie Legaux and a host of other young signal-callers will be in the mix. When UC goes live in pads only Collaros will be untouchable. The rest will be open for contact.
I'd expect the battle to run all the way through training camp.
"You have to prove yourself," Jones said. "Zach had a great offseason and proved himself. We found out the level of football your second and third quarterbacks are going to need to be able to play. You treat them like starting quarterbacks. We put as much pressure and competition on them as much as we can."
--- The Coaches Clipboard talks with co-DC Jon Jancek and QB/OC Mike Bajakian after the first practice. Bajakian talks about seven QBs being on the roster and the competition it creates, among other topics.
--- Andrew Force gave out some spring awards with insight into whose made the biggest offseason jumps, added weight, etc.
--- Was pumped to learn yesterday that Darnell Wilks will take part in the College Slam Dunk contest on Thursday. Here's the details.
DVR Alert: The show will air at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 on Thursday night.
He'll fall into line just behind James White and Melvin Levett as the top dunking Bearcats of all-time.
We'll be seeing plenty of high-rising like this putback dunk against Rutgers.
Wilks has his work cut out for him, apparently, because John Williams of UNC-Asheville, aka "The Masked Dunker" really likes his chances. The field also includes this little guy from Illinois College who received an exemption because of his Facebook campaign.
--- On to some randomness...
--- There have been days in my life where I wanted this to be a headline about me.
--- Children bring so much into a parent's life. Love, joy, a shield for tasers, excitement, family bond, committment. Wait, one of those doesn't sound right. No, not joy, the one after that.
--- I like bacon. I like ice cream. I even sometimes like Denny's.
--- Dez Bryant hopes to single-handedly end the lockout.
--- Let's conclude with a glimpse of Darnell Wilks at a dunk contest.Here was Wilks rocking the sweat pants at the Deveroes Slam Dunk contest (he's the second guy up). I think showing up in sweats and a beater alone would warrant consideration for the title even before he leaves the ground.