Even though the Bearcat Bowl flashes in the rearview mirror, the practices still continue at Nippert Stadium. On Monday, the team took to the field again. They'll do so, barring thunder and lightning complications, again today.
Practices wrap for the spring later this week.
--- Tommy G caught up with TE coach Mark Elder following Monday's workout. Elder discusses the Travis Kelce emergence, Blake Annen and Adrien Robinson. Heavy expectations are placed upon Kelce to help the team and Robinson will likely play significant snaps, as well.
The Bearcats didn't utilize the tight ends in the pass game as much last year. Ben Guidugli had 24 receptions for 197 yards with a touchdown and Robinson caught six passes for 65 yards and a score.
In 2009, Guidugli contributed 27 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson added 10 for 174.
With the rise of the spread, five-wide formations, declining TE stats are occuring more and more across college football -- not saying the spread was the reason here. More often, these players stand on the sidelines for a high percentage of the snaps while wideouts fly across the defensive backfield.
For example, of the leaders in receptions last season, only three of the top 100 in the country were tight ends. Even as recently as 2007, the same group of 100 yielded nine TEs -- that included two of the top 31.
Butch Jones likes to use the TE as one of the spread wideouts in his system. We saw Guidugli lined up off the tackle in the slot many times last year. WIth an athletic wonder like Kelce, you'll likely see a similiar concept.
--- Brian Bennett breaks down the potential for a 3,000-yard passer in the Big East. He ranks Zach Collaros No. 2 behind WVU's Geno Smith.
Barring injury, Collaros will reach 3k. He hit 2,907 last year missing a game and with no bowl. Where Collaros prefers to be judged is wins and losses. He stated that after nearly every game last season. He views a quarterback's job to win games. That's that bottom line.
More precisely, Collaros' improvement will be judged on continuing his consistency overall, but minimizing turnovers. Making smarter decisions under pressure and not forcing passes(which he unfortunately was forced to do playing from behind much of last year, accounting for many picks/fumbles) will be the key.
--- Filed under "Sounds great, means nothing," comes the first Bracketology of the 2011-12 basketball season. For the record, UC landed as a No. 4 seed.
The better news for the fan base who didn't already know the regional sites, there are plenty within reasonable driving distance next year. Louisville, Columbus, Nashville and Pittsburgh are all among the options for the first weekend. Fifty percent of possible desinations are within a five-hour drive. And for anybody who hasn't taken a weekend trip to Nashville, well, just hope the Bearcats land there and win their first-round game. My favorite aspect of Nashville is you don't go out downtown, you "go honky-tonkin." I knew the Honky Tonk Man and am still unsure what honky-tonkin was, only know I enjoyed it immensely.
Unfortunately, Joey Brackets has UC in Portland playing Harvard, so book your flights now.
--- Social media and rabid fans provide the latest gray area in recruiting violations. Great read from the NY Times.
--- CBSsports asks if anyone can explain the rash of players deciding to stay in school. Uh, yes, the same reason everyone jumped ship last season. The NBA lockout. Everyone last year wanted to get in before it happened and changed the pay scale. Now, everyone wants to wait a year because the league probably won't be paying anybody or allowing them to play until January or beyond.
On to some randomness...
--- Mascots performing human tasks always makes me laugh. Though, watching the Winthrop University Eagles mascot Big Stuff, "giving away" the groom at his wedding mainly makes me want to...actually, that really makes me laugh too.
--- I'm not exactly a charter member of the John Calipari fan club, but it's about time Bob Knight stayed out of it.
--- If you woke up today and thought, "I'd like to know more about muppets," then this is the link for you.
--- We are supposed to want our kids to go outside and play. Videos like this make me think I'd rather they stayed in and played Grand Theft Auto for 10 straight hours.
--- This guy probably won't be on Wiz Khalfia's next CD, but this is still pretty cool.