The FIFA Women's World Cup started this past Sunday and so far the group games have been awesome! USA played North Korea on Tuesday and won 2-0 after a shaky first half. The US seemed to have trouble with the North Koreans pace and movement of the ball out wide but after halftime they came out and took control of the game and put two great goals in by Lauren Cheney and Rachel Buehler. Other teams such as Germany, France, and Brazil proved they are teams in contention for the title after positive showings thus far in group play. Kay and I were running late from lifting with Kelly Howe so we ended up watching the USA game in the coaches office because we didn't want to miss any more of the game! It has been awesome to watch some of the best players in the women's game each day and definately gives me something to do each day after Dayton Dutch Lions morning practices.
The Dutch Lions continued to practice this week after a week off. We scrimmaged a U23 team from Columbus last night and won 6-0! Like the USWNT, we started off a bit shaky but we were able to come away at half time winning 1-0 on a PK call. We definately kicked in it in the second half and scored 5 more goals, two of which came from Logan and another from Hebbeler! It was good to get our feet back under us after a few days off and to get a good run in to help keep up our game fitness!
This weekend we are hosting the Atlanta Silverbacks in a rematch of our first game of the season. Atlanta had previously beaten us 3-0 after we only had about 3 days of practice and a lot of girls missing so we are hoping for a better result than last time! We are in the final stretch of our season with only 3 games left so 3 wins would put us in a great place to place in the top 2 of the division and advance to nationals held in Washington state at the end of July.
I'm off to go run with Kay but make sure to check out the World Cup games each morning, trust me you won't be disappointed!!, and if your in the Dayton area Saturday night, come watch the Dayton Dutch Lions take on Atlanta 7pm at Bellbrook High School!
Happy Friday to everyone. Hopefully your weekend will be better than Whitey Bulger's. For the record, this will be my final post prior to taking the next week off for vacation.
It will be post No. 408 as my first year with the Bearcats Blog comes full circle. I started following the July 4th holiday last season. Can't say I expected to be writing 1.12 posts a day during my first year here (considering the stat-heavy nature of this blog, I considered charting out other bloggers posts per day from around the country for comparison then thought that might be a little unnecessary even by my standards), but the excitement of the football and basketball seasons left plenty to talk about.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, but probably not because covering UC this past year was among one of my favorite seasons in this business.
However, I've been inspired by Ron Artest changing his name to Metta World Peace and when I return will own a different image fronted by a name change. Instead of Paul Dehner Jr., I from this point forward want to be known as Eat More Bananas. Somebody must spread the word about the need for more potassium in everyone's diet, why not me?
--- The Pirates sent Josh Harrison back down to Triple-A. Fear not, though. The move appeared only as a scheme to call up prospect 3B Chase d'Arnaud as well as fill an empty pitcher spot for a doubleheader on July 2. Since MLB teams have to wait 10 days to recall a player sent down, it would make Harrison eligible to return July 3, hence, come up as the pitcher filling in goes back down. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains the situation with quotes from the GM here.
Harrison hit .283 in his 16-game stint and provided a nice lift to a Pirates team in dire need of infield depth. Granted, the sample size of 60 at-bats was small, but only Andrew McCutcheon and Steve Pearce owned better batting averages of Pirates with at least 50 at-bats this season. A memorable first impression for the UC and Princeton product.
More importantly, and as discussed at length here and elsewhere around UC blogs, Cronin wants to be here for the long haul. He confirmed to Katz two schools offered him more money, but talked about how the rebuilding project had a draining effect. He was sapped, not only professionally but personally.
"How much can you go through?'' Cronin told Katz. "I took on a massive project.
I'd be lying if I didn't say it didn't have an effect on me. I went through a
divorce. I was working 15- and 18-hour days, which affected my marriage. We're
great friends now but the marriage suffered.
"If you're married with kids, or even single with no kids, it's hard to
rebuild like what Mark Turgeon or Lon Kruger [going from UNLV to Oklahoma] have
Standard open and honest musings from Mick. He's never been afraid to say exactly what he feels and his stability certainly won't reverse that trend.
For all the discontent and hatred spewed across message boards and booster golf outings, UC has exactly what it wanted: A great hometown coach who cares about the university, its history, its academic image and wants to be here. Mick's proven that with both actions and words.
--- The draft came and went with nobody knowing much more than they did previously. The lack of true impact players made it a less than spectacular event. Some diamonds in the rough may develop over the next few years to prove some distinct winners and losers, but for now, that's just a lot of rough.
--- Two Big East players go in the first round: Kemba to Charlotte at No. 9 and Marshon Brooks went to the Nets at No. 25. Charlotte is a nice fit for Walker, he will show up and play every day with some budding talent around him. I think he'll end up being a steal in this draft.
--- Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough wasn't selected in one of the bigger surprises of draft night. All hope is not lost for the Big East Player of the Year. Other undrafted players went on to successful NBA careers: Bruce Bowen, Avery Johnson, Udonis Haslem, Raja Bell, Brad Miller, John Starks and Ben Wallace.
Though, the future doesn't look great. If you look at a common thread between most of those players (sans Starks), they all made their name as great defenders. It would be hard to imagine Hansbrough as a shutdown defender in the NBA. Or the D-League for that matter (which we may get an opportunity to find out firsthand). --- Andrea Adelson talks about 23 of 25 UC football freshmen reporting with speculation on the two absentees.
--- Adelson also placed two Bearcats among the highest impact true freshmen this year. I talked about these guys in the spring, but Butch Jones is very high on LBs Dwight Jackson and Nick Temple. More specifically, he has to be with a desperate need for depth at the position and Walter Stewart's move to hybrid DE/LB.
You can throw redshirt freshman Solomon Tentman into that mix as well. He would have played some at LB last year if not for a season-ending injury at Camp Higher Ground.
--- When UC plays at USF this year, I will do my best to shake the hand of Bulls DL Danous Estenor. The guy lifted a car off of someone to save their life. --- With the weekend upon us and a vacation for myself, I figured a song that always makes me feel like celebrating would be in order. If you can't have a good day listening to James Brown, well, I just feel sorry for you.
The NBA Draft is tonight. Normally, we would spend much of this space discussing where players will go and some of their professional potential. That's what most everyone else is discussing today across the sports landscape. Yet, seeing as how no Bearcats will be involved, that leaves that topic dead in the water.
But, if you still want to know about the draftees, well, Seth Davis does a great job ranking the top 40 prospects. Personally, I'll be keeping an eye on where Kemba and the Jimmer fall. Would love to see Kemba to the Knicks and Jimmer to Golden State where they don't play defense anyway.
The event has become a fantastic opportunity for women to find a behind-the-scenes look at the program and enjoy interacting with the players/staff.
--- John Calipari thinks a way to pay players would be for universities to secede from the NCAA and form four superconferences. This will never happen. Getting 64+ universities to agree on the color of the sky would be hard enough, much less leaving the NCAA sugar daddy and start paying players.
--- Mike Thomas posteda letter from the AD on the GoBearcats page as an update on the athletics department. --- Four current or former Bearcats are competing at the USA Junior and Senior Track and Field Outdoor Championships this weekend. They are fighting for spots at the World Championships in South Korea.
Most notably, Terrence Somerville, fresh off his run to All-American status in the 110-meter hurdles, will be competing.
--- Eddie Vedder was on David Letterman earlier this week and played "Without You" from his album Ukelele Songs. It was predictably fantastic. Still excited for the 20th Anniversary celebration in September. Though I won't be there, buying the concerts will be on the top of my list.
--- I can't be the only one seeing the irony in Alfonso Soriano calling Chicago fans "the worst," right? He has seen his contract...and himself attempting to play left field, correct? --- The extra time off allowed the Mannings to spend more time working on their commercials. And their delightfully fake mustaches. It's the first win-win of the lockout.
This past weekend our summer team, Dayton Dutch Lions, traveled to play Charlotte Lady Eagles on Saturday night. Since the men's Dutch Lions team had a game versus Charlotte men's team on Saturday as well we traveled with them, first making a stop in Charleston, South Carolina for their game versus Charleston Battery on Friday night. We left Dayton at 8am on Thursday morning and didn't get to Charleston till 8pm on Thursday night! It was a very long bus ride and we had to double up seats on the bus because of the amount of people traveling. It was very crowded so when people wanted to sleep they would sleep on the floor of the bus! Sharing seats was so uncomfortable and the floor was very hot so either way sharing a seat or sleeping on the floor the ride was not ideal. I never realized how lucky we are when we travel with UC and each get our own seats!!
After a light practice Friday morning we had the rest of the day to go walk around downtown Charleston, go to the mall, hangout at the pool, relax, or basically do whatever we wanted until we left at 6 for the mens game. Logan, being the smart one of the group, had brought her bathing suit in case of nice weather so we could go for a swim at the hotels pool. A big group of us wanted to go swimming as well so we took the bus shuttle over to the Walmart and each bought a bathing suit so we could go swimming as well! The pool water was perfect and the weather was hot with a nice breeze so it was a really nice way to spend an afternoon off!
After the pool we went to dinner at a restraunt in Daniels Island, SC near the stadium the boys were playing at before heading to their game. Their game was very exciting, a lot of shots, 2 red cards, and even a headbutt from one player to another! The fan base in Charleston made it even more exciting--their stands were filled with hundreds screaming fans. After the mens game ended we drove 3 hours to Charlotte to stay the night for our game on Saturday.
Our game Saturday started out wild. When we got to the fields and went to the locker room, the weather was a hot, humid 95 degrees with the sun blazing down but when we came out of the locker room after about 30 minutes, the weather was a very windy, cloud covered sky and only about 60 degrees!! It was quite a change and it certainly looked like there was going to be a storm. We had been about 10 minutes into our warmup when it started to downpour on us! It was the heaviest rain I had played in, in a long time and the wind made it so much worse! The wind was blowing all of our soccer balls and cones away and it made it very difficult to run in. About 20 minutes before game time a BIG bolt of lightning flashed and we had to go back to the locker rooms and wait half an hour for a rain delay. After the delay, it was only raining a little bit so we quickly warmed back up and began the game. We had played really well in the first half of the game; we were winning 1-0 and our backline of Kay, Logan, a girl who plays at UK, and I held Charlotte to only one shot on goal. The second half we looked a little bit tired from all the traveling and we gave up 2 goals, one on a set piece and one on a corner. We ended up tying the game late in the second half so we were happy coming away from a long travel trip with 1 point versus the team in first place. We traveled through the night and got back to Dayton around 7am on Sunday morning! It was such a long trip and I was so happy to be back at my apartment and not crammed on a bus anymore!
With no games this coming weekend our summer team coach gave us off practice which will be nice to rest up our bodies before a big game versus Atlanta July 2nd. The time off has given me some time to go back home and spend time with my family. I came back to Lemont on Monday morning after Kay, Emily, and I worked out with Kelly Howe. Lemont is a southwest suberb of Chicago, Illinois and the trip back to Lemont normally takes about 4 and a half hours but with the crazy rain and thunderstorms on Monday it took me quite a bit longer! About 5 and a half hours later I was so happy to be pulling in to my driveway and see my family and my dog. Home has been very relaxing so far and I've just been hanging out with my family a lot, nothing too exciting but I am going up to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin this weekend so hopefully this awful, rainy weather clears up so we can take the boat out!!
Days like these still cause my stomach to drop. They elicit an unforgettable sensation of empathy, regret and fear.
In fact, days like these forced me to leave my childhood dream I actively pursued late into my 20s and amend it midstream.
I grew up dreaming of covering sports for the local newspaper. I dreamed that one day my mom and dad would open it up over eggs and bacon to read about their team and see the face and thoughts of their son.
Because of days like these, I abandoned a business I loved because the newspaper truck drove down a road that led directly into a lake.
I spent five-plus years in the newspaper business working my way up the ladder, only to realize someone's standing on the roof pushing off the people who make it to the top. The decimation at papers across the country led me back to Cincinnati and to this blog, which I thoroughly enjoy, so I should probably thank the idiot execs who ruin thousands of lives on a yearly basis to pad their pockets. But it does make me feel for those who suffered at its expense yesterday anyway.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected. Not only those who lost jobs but those left behind to wonder when they will be next, including many friends still doing incredible work amid unstable conditions.
The stories of what happened at each location continue to surface -- Indianapolis here, Des Moines here, including former Cincinnati Post writer Sean Keeler. I haven't heard what the repercussions were/will be at our local representative, The Enquirer, but only hope they are minimal as possible.
Sorry to go on and on about a topic none of you likely care about, but it is hard to start off with anything else on days like these.
Being able to showcase his athleticism will be a great fit not only on the court, but being able to showcase his personality will be a great fit off it (actually, on it, as well, considering the Globetrotters schtick). I enjoyed talking to Darnell immensely the past few years and you could always count on a few laughs when he came into the press conference.
My personal goal all season was to write a story about his bald spot. No, I'm not mean-spirited, but Wilks was self-deprecating in many ways and occasionally joked about people hating on his hair situation. Twice in a public forum he mentioned it, but my rule on something like that was he had to talk about it three times. Unfortunately, the third never came and neither did the story, but as a fellow hair-challenged citizen, appreciated the way he poked fun at himself.
He's a good guy and speaking for myself, and I'm sure everyone at UC, we wish him the best of luck with the Globetrotters.
Cliff Peale at The Enquirer had these details on incentives:
"Mick Cronin could earn $100,000 for a national championship, $25,000 for an
outright regular season Big East championship, $10,000 for a team grade-point
average exceeding 3.0 and $15,000 if attendance at Fifth Third Arena exceeds
9,000 per game."
As for attendance, UC averaged 7,344 for its 18 home games last season. With another quality season like last year, rising over 9k would seem like a real possibility for the 2012-13 season. I'd imagine attendance will take a jump because of increased interest next year, but it would be hard to foresee a 1,700-fan jump in one season.
Only one Big East team in the top 10 is fairly surprising. Although, if you look at the 2010-11 Opening Day rosters, the Big East was tied for third with the Big 12 for number of NBA players per conference school in the NBA (3.4).
The Pac-10 led the way with 4.8 and ACC next with 4.7.
Actually, outside of Syracuse (7) and UConn (11), no school from the conference had more than four players on an NBA roster. UC had three.
--- This allows me an opportunity to apologize for an omission in yesterday's Breakfast where I somehow completely forgot about Lance Stephenson being drafted last year as part of my post about the recent draft "drought." As Forrest Gump would say, "sometimes people do things, just don't make no sense."
I am now officially upping my coffee intake to two cups prior to writing the Breakfast.
UC still is suffering its lowest draft total in recent history of one in the past five years, but judging by the talent on the team and future projections, those numbers are on the verge of a significant upswing. --- Rutgers signed a football stadium naming rights deal worth $6.5 million dollars over 10 years. They are one of 15 schools in the country with corporate sponsors adorning the name of their home field. Of course, five of those are shared NFL stadiums.
Would it be OK if UC were to sell the naming rights to Nippert Stadium? This is a question strictly out of my head and in know way seriously discussed by UC to my knowledge; but if money went back into the athletics program, would you have a problem if it were, say, Kroger Stadium?
For as much as Nippert Stadium is a part of history and tradition of UC, it would be hard to swallow that type of corporate sellout. I'd be standing with the side against it, but when a university is looking for revenue sources, it becomes more and more difficult to justify turning down.
--- Two things about thisbreakdancing gorilla. 1) Whenever I get married, he's invited. 2) I feel like this is about how everyone views me when I hit the dance floor.
The college offseason is long and tedious. Some days there won't be much to talk about, especially when I am bringing the Breakfast Monday-Friday. Today, unfortunately, is one of those days. More than 250 Breakfasts a year, they can't all unveil life-altering truth.
We'll see if we can't manufacture better conversation tomorrow.
Let's eat... --- This Draft Prospect blog places Yancy Gates as No. 60 in a 2012 Mock Draft. Two things about this post:
1) Gates will be defined by how he plays in his senior season. A consistent effort can quell suspicions about a lacking work ethic and replace them with conversations about developing maturity and upside.
2) Wow, if you didn't know North Carolina was going to be good next season, this post should help you. Projected two of the top three and all five starters in the top 24 selections.
For those of you who appreciate this blog and would like to see it grow, send suggestions for distribution of that new cash to AD Mike Thomas. --- Did you know Pitt hasn't had a first-round draft pick since Vonteego Cummings in 1999. Perhaps the league felt it wasn't ready for another Panther after Cummings stellar three-year stint. Hard to believe, though. DeJuan Blair was close, but slipped to 37 before becoming known as the steal of the 2008 draft for San Antonio.
As for UC's draft picks since 2000 (not counting that year when Kenyon Martin, DerMarr Johnson and Pete Mickeal went 1,6 and 58, respectively)
2001: Kenny Satterfield/54/Dallas 2002: Steve Logan/30/Golden State 2005: Jason Maxiell/26/Detroit 2006: James White/31/Portland 2010: Lance Stephenson (UPDATED: I somehow forgot to include Lance in the original version. I am not officially moving to a two-coffee, pre-Breakfast writing diet)
The draft will come and go with no Bearcats drafted on Thursday. Only one player selected since 2006 will mark the fewest over a five-year period since UC's re-emergence with Corie Blount and Nick Van Exel selected in 1993.
Only four drafts between 1993 and 2006 didn't include a UC player selected.
--- Andrea Adelson looked at UC's Big East title chances. She cites three reasons they will (skill players, better defense, Year 2) and three reasons they won't (how much better will defense be?, schedule, special teams).
For my money, you can add a third category in a football success limbo between the two on her list: Offensive line. If the line comes into its own and plays well, put them in the title hunt. If not, finding enough open space of the skilled playmakers will be a season-defining challenge. --- A great story onTony Campana from The Tennessean.
--- Kevin Durant went all And-1 in a summer league game with a nasty, off-the-backboard dunk. What I love most is how fans just run on the court to celebrate the slam. Can we start allowing this in NBA games? I want dunk timeouts to come into play so people can run in for chest bumps.
(This is something I wrote for my day job as a high school sports reporter for The Community Press papers owned by the Enquirer. Withrow is one of the schools I cover and this appeared in the Eastern Hills Journal.)
Doc Gamble has resigned from Withrow High School as head football
coach and will begin work at the University of Cincinnati Friday, June
17, as an offensive quality control coach.
The position is not an on-field job, but as with most college
positions, change is routine.
"I've got all 10 toes back in the door now," Gamble said. "I know
'X's and O's', but I've always been intrigued by the computer stuff and
the technology. I'm able to learn that here and if I'm ever asked a
question, I might be able to give them a little input."
Gamble previously coached in college at East Carolina and the College
of Mount St. Joseph. He was with the ECU Pirates in 2002 under
then-coach Steve Logan and at MSJ prior to that in 2000-2001. His record
at Withrow was 53-19. He also coached at Fairfield for one year and was
"It's just getting up to speed on everything," Gamble said of his
return to the college ranks. "There's some inside stuff that's fairly
new, so I'll be getting acquainted with that. High school coaches are
sometimes the last to get up on the technology stuff and I'll be able to
get things first-hand now."
Springer/Staff-- Doc Gamble (center) has left Withrow High School to join
the staff at the University of Cincinnati as Offensive Quality Control
coach, an off-field position. With Gamble in Feburary are Willie Mills
(left) who signed with Georgetown College and Brandon Mitchell (right)
who signed with the UC Bearcats.)
Withrow defensive lineman Brandon Mitchell was a UC recruit this past
February and will join the incoming freshman soon in workouts.
Withrow Athletic Director Darren Braddix was on his way to a national
track meet with his Tiger squad June 16 and said he would hold comment
on Gamble's replacement until his return.
Antonio Davis coached Withrow during Gamble's one season away in 2008
and Gamble hopes he gets serious consideration.
"We had a good meeting," Gamble said. "I gave them a list of names.
Hopefully, Antonio Davis can slide back in there. The entire staff is
going to stay intact. When I left before, half the guys went with me to
Fairfield and the other half stayed. This time around everyone's
committed to staying to try and keep that thing going."
Few were worried about the Bearcats running back position entering the 2011 season. In fact, Athlon ranked it the best crop of backs in the conference. Senior Isaiah Pead returns with the athleticism of an NFL back and urgency of a college senior.
Darrin Williams returns off showing signs of promise prior to an injury cutting short the 2010 campaign.
George Winn drew praise from coaches in the spring.
Recruit Jameel Poteat enters as the gem of the freshmen class. A four-star back, ranked No. 15 in his position nationally by rivals.
WIth all those names, it would be easy to forget about Akise Teague. Until this weekend, anyway. Teague doesn't own the star power of Poteat, speed of Pead (who does?) or experience of Winn and Williams. He's a two-star kid from Division V Ursuline.
Wisconsin was the only BCS school other than Cincinnati to offer.
But all he does is produce. Over 2,400 rushing yards, 4,000 total yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior. Ohio's Mr. Football.
He produced again on Saturday in the prestigious Big 33 Game between Ohio and Pennsylvania (with Poteat on the Pa. sideline). He touched the ball 10 times for 168 yards, including three touchdowns (runs of 52 and 20, adding a 40-yard reception). For those doubting if Teague could perform on a major college level, well, they should have their answer. The Big 33 is the top high school all-star game going. It's been by represented by a player in every Super Bowl. Check out the moves he put on some of the brightest stars from the state of Pennsylvania, then you tell me if he's ready. (H/T to Fox19. BTW, if you aren't watching Fox19 for your local sports news, then you don't want in-depth coverage. They work to find more stories nobody else has than anyone else in the city combined)
Remember, according to ESPN evaluation, Teague also ran a 4.53 40-yard
dash. He's not exactly lacking speed. Add in the elusiveness he's always
illustrated and it begs a question of the day:
With all this talent and production, why did so many major schools stay away?
Most evaluations I read tell you it was because of his size. Teague is listed at 5-foot-8, 171 pounds.
It's funny these size concerns continue to pop up, particularly with the long line of undersized backs who have produced oversized results in spread systems the past few years. The ability to stay low, hide behind large offensive lineman and make people miss in space has become the major trait of so many major BCS workhorses. Teague proved he owns all of these.
You have to figure Teague will put on at least 5-10 pounds leading up to the season now that he is in the hands of strength coach Dave Lawson. So, let's place Teague at 5-8, 180 pounds this year. Want to find some other backs at that size who've enjoyed monster seasons/careers at BCS schools? Here's a list:
Player School Hgt/Wgt Pertinent Stats NFL Status Noel Devine WVU 5-8/176 4,317 yards/29 TDs Drafted Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon St. 5-6/190 3,877 yards/46 TDs Drafted Kendall Hunter Okla. St. 5-8/190 4,181 yards/37 TDs Drafted Jordan Todman UConn 5-9/190 1,695/14 TDs (2010) Drafted Rodney Stewart Colorado 5-6/175 1,218/10 TDs (2010) Returning LaMichael James Oregon 5-9/180 1,731/21 TDs (2010) Returning
James led the country in rushing yards per game, Todman finished second, Hunter ninth, Stewart 12th and Rodgers 19th.
That's one quarter of the top 20 running backs last season would be at or near Teague's projected size range. With the above listed stats, those don't include receiving stats, which typically accompany backs of this range. Expect that to be the case for Teague as well who actually played slot receiver for much of his time in high school (evidenced by his smooth 40-yard TD reception Saturday).
For the record, Kendall Hunter, Jordan Todman and Jacquizz Rodgers weren't exactly can't-miss recruits either. Hunter was rated the 40th best RB prospect and Rodgers the 26th while Todman and Stewart went unrated with two stars by Rivals (same as Teague).
To claim Teague will be in the same class as any of the aforementioned backs or even find carries this season in a crowded UC backfield would be unfair to Akise, the Bearcats and the group of undersized stars. Nobody can tell that a player will provide that level of production because of one all-star game, as prestigious as the Big 33 might be.
However, seeing what we've seen from Teague in high school, on Saturday and knowing what we know about the success of undersized running backs in spread systems over recent years, Teague at the very least fits the mold of a breakout running back star.
Here are the YouTube highlights from the game: Teague's first TD comes at the 1:30 mark, the ankle-breaking reverse field TD comes at 2:10, he rips off a nice screen pass at 3:25, the TD reception comes at 5:20.
--- Bill Koch wrote anoutstanding piece in Sunday's Enquirer on the relationship between Hep and Mick Cronin. Love it when Bill does pieces like this -- it's a true introspection into how Cronin became the coach he is today. Must read for UC fans.
--- Also, nice piece on Herb Jones, who is still playing in the Deveroes Summer League at the age of 40. Still remember Jones as the glue guy on the 1992 Final Four team.
If you are interested in checking out some of the UC players (most of them are on Slats), here is the schedule. --- ESPN is running a series on city schools in college football. They define city school as one that competes with an NFL franchise in the same city/market.
--- The Meineke Car Care Bowl will now be known as the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Not sure what this means, other than the swag will likely include some casual polos and bermuda shorts. The bowl payout didn't appear to take a significant jump up or down.
--- Some randomness... --- We talked about Clarence Clemons' stroke last week, unfortunately, he passed away Saturday night. He was one of the great sax players of our generation and innovated the way it's used in popular music. Here are some of his best solos. Take your pick, you won't be disappointed.
--- OK, I kind ofwant to see Moneyball. I read the book, but didn't think it would convert. Yet,any movie that strolls out Scott Hatteberg as a central figure catches my attention. Is that sad? Probably.
It's Friday, the Reds are back home, the weather hasn't caused a complaint in days, life expectancy is dropping, I need to get this thing moving. Let's eat...
--- The Big 33 game is this weekend, Saturday 7 p.m. in Hershey, Pa. NFL Network did a special on this game not too long ago, particularly the long list of great players to have participated in the Ohio-Pennsylvania All-Star game. There has never been a Super Bowl without Big 33 alumni.
Want a brief alumni list? How about this A-Z (almost) list: LaVar Arrington, Marc Bulger, Kerry Collins, Tony Dorsett, Lee Evans, Antonio Freeman, Archie Griffin, A.J. Hawk, Rocket Ismail, Joe Jurevicius, Jim Kelly, Ty Law, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Artie Owens (OK, some laters are a little slim), Orlando Pace, Ben Roethlisberger, Bob Sanders, John Thornton, Bob Vogel, Charles Woodson, Scott Zolak.
I'll report back Monday with results of how the Bearcats-to-be fared.
--- Appreciate the responses on Facebook and Twitter to yesterday's Breakfast (you can follow here: @pauldehnerjr). There were some calls for a series with Michigan State to start up. The Dantonio factor definitely exists, though, I get the feeling he's still thought of fondly here. Plus, with the Purdue series coming up and Ohio State already on the plate, it would be unlikely to see another Big Ten opponent added in the near future.
Kentucky was brought up, the same as I did in the blog. I would like to see it, but never said it was much of a reality. The likelihood of UK adding a second Big East opponents is slim. SEC teams rarely schedule tough opponents out of conference anyway and taking on Big East teams tend to be a lose-lose for them. Usually they will be favored, but wins can be difficult to come by. That's why the SEC has only played Big East opponents 18 times in the past seven years. --- Bearcats Blog caught up with Orange44 and Rumble in the Garden for a quick round of discussion in four questions. The first caught my eye. They asked who were the five Big East coaches you would most like to hang out with?
I couldn't help but weigh in, I will exclude UC coaches from the list to avoid bias. Also, the list consists completely of basketball coaches because, well, most of the football coahces are so new its hard to grasp their personalities yet.
5. JTII -- I want to hear all about stepping into the shoes of a legend and all the old stories of college hoops growing up with his famous father.
4. Buzz Williams -- There's something about a down-home, country guy that draws me in. Plus, I'd assume he's my best chance at a trip to the Waffle House.
3. Steve Lavin -- He's a must-have on this list. The guy is entertaining as anybody in the league and could tell stories all night long.
2. Jim Boeheim -- Few pressers are as entertaining as Jimmy B. His dry humor would go down perfectly with a plate of Dinosaur BBQ.
1. Bob Huggins -- Was there ever any doubt? --- Connor Barwin got locked in a bank afterhours in a high security building. Hilarity ensues.
--- Oliver Purnell's rebuilding hit a small speedbump with two seniors returning from injury opting to transfer. Now, I guess I won't pick DePaul to win the Big East. --- The bowl schedulehas been released with the Cotton Bowl enjoying a nice push to Jan. 6 in the middle of the BCS season. The National Championship again takes place on Jan. 9, far, far, far too late in the season. Everyone argues this point and with little resistance, so I won't go on a diatribe. But as soon as they start playing the Super Bowl March 2nd, give me a call, and I'll issue an apology.
Assuming the title participants played in a conference championship game on Dec. 3, that would place 38 days between games. If they come from a non-title game conference, that would be 45 days between games. You could almost fit the entire NBA playoffs in that time frame. --- MLBearcats update: Kevin Youkilis with a nice catch in a win against Tampa, Tony Campana goes 1 for 4 with a run in a Cubs victory against the Brewers and Josh Harrison was 1 for 3 with a double and RBI in a victory against Houston.
BTW, the Pirates are two games over .500 on June 17. Does anybody need me to repeat that sentence?
The rest of the list is intriguing, in particular to see how much money some athletes make in endorsements. If it wasn't before, it should be abundantly clear why Jimmie Johnson always talks about the "Lowe's Chevrolet" before slipping the name of every other sponsor into his postgame interviews. Making $12 mil in endorsements last year will change your speech patterns.
--- In honor of the Toronto Blue Jays coming to town, I figured I would go with a Canadian motif for the Friday music choice. Neil Young is probably the best singer/songwriter to come from the land of tunies and loonies. Here's Rockin' in the Free World from 2009. Enjoy yourself this weekend.
Going into last night's Stanley Cup Finals, I was rooting for Vancouver because they care more and the country hasn't won a Cup since 1993. Plus, Boston fans are much more entertaining angry rather than happy. A happy Boston fan is like a cooked fish still with eyes, scales and gills showing up on my dinner plate, I just don't know what to do with it. It's not what you come to expect.
Turns out, Vancouver has more pent up anger than any of us imagined. Scary stuff. Those were some of the most frightening riots in recent history. Over a hockey game. What a black eye for the city.
Although, it did turn out this incredible picture, that I assume is a screenshot of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock from Speed 3: When the Rubber Meets the Ice.
--- OK, now back to manufacturing the news. The Orlando Sentinel ranked UC No. 62 in its countdown of every FBS team in college football. The link is nothing but a rehash of last season and where the program is at, but here it is anyway.
That's probably a fair spot considering the team's record from last year, though, I would think returning a senior, First Team Big East QB would hold more weight.
--- Late on this, but saw where Penn State and Pitt are renewing their rivalry later this decade. What rivalry would you like to see UC renew or startup?
Obviously, Ohio State, Purdue and Virginia Tech are already on the schedule in the coming years, so they don't count.
My top five list:
1. Notre Dame:
This would hardly be considered renewing a rivalry, since they've only
played once. That occurred pre-cars. The year was 1900 and ND won 57-0.
But Clifton has been steaming ever since.
Oh, and there is some coach there who might spark interest from the fan base.
The two schools last played in 1996 and Kentucky owns the series
record, going 21-9-3 against the Bearcats. But with the recent ascension
of UC, rise of the SEC where Kentucky has experienced limited success,
competition in recruiting and geographic lines, this one makes the most
3. Memphis: Only because of the history between
the two schools do I include this. They've played 30 times since 1966
and waged some fun battles in the C-USA days. Memphis' program has
turned for the worst in recent years, but college football can flip
fast. If the Tigers regroup, it would be fun to revisit.
4. Ohio: This was never really a rivalry, but I want UC to play a game in Athens so I can return to my alma mater. The End.
5. Xavier: Oh, sorry, they don't have a football team. Just wanted to bring that up again. --- Back to Collaros, Andrea Adelson looked at the possible Heisman contenders from the Big East. In a perfect world, if that team put together a stellar season, she saw three candidates in the conference. Collaros, Geno Smith and Ray Graham.
Last year was the first season since 2005 the Big East didn't have a player in the Top 10 of the Heisman voting. Mardy Gilyard finished 9th in 2009.
Should Collaros throw for 3,000 yards, run for 800 and hold a 4:1 TD-interception ratio while UC wins the Big East, yeah, I'd say he would receive some Heisman votes.
Is that likely? Maybe not. But I don't think anybody would be shocked considering the immense talent Collaros possesses and the skill players around him. --- When butt dialingbecomes an NCAA violation. Key lock those phones, coaches! --- If you were wondering why there were hundreds of high school football players on campus this week, here you go. The camp season is in full swing for Butch Jones. --- Jeff Goodman, now of CBS, ranked college hoops coaches by age bracket. Mick didn't show up in the up-and-comers leaderboard, but he's certainly knocking on the door. Goodman was much more results based with his analysis, placing Shaka Smart Top 5 for his one run to the Final Four.
If you're judging overall talent, I'd take five years of the rebuild Cronin accomplished instead of three special weeks in March. Also, Cronin has been a top assistant under No. 2 and No. 5 in the 50-60 list. But, clearly, I'm biased. --- Shawn Sell caughtup with former UC pitcher Dan Osterbrock, who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery. He was last seen in Double-A for the Twins, hopes to return by August and eyes a season of winter ball. The story includes a full update on all the UC players in independent, minor and major league baseball. --- From last night, Kevin Youkilis contributed the only runs in a 3-0 Boston win against Tampa, with a three-run bomb for the Sox. That's 10 on the year for Youk.
Tony Campana was 0 for 1 in a pinch-hit role and Josh Harrison did not play.
--- People are starting to snatch up Paul McCartney tickets. The guy is supremely talented. There would be a catalog of songs I'd be excited to hear, but this will always be at the top no matter how popular.
School is out and soccer is on my mind! It is so nice to finally just be playing soccer without having classes, homeworks, tests, and projects to worry about! All of my attention has been shifted to practices and workouts with the Dayton Dutch Lions. We have practices usually 3 days a week for a hour and a half in the mornings. The practices have been quite competitive this week as we prepare to take on Charlotte Lady Eagles this weekend in Charlotte.
Charlotte is currently in first place but we are in a close second only behind Charlotte by two points! We are really looking for some points on the road to secure a spot in the top two of the division as the top two in each division of the W-League go to Nationals! For a first year program we are reaching new heights and proving we can compete in the top W-League division!
Last time we played Charlotte we beat them 1-0 at home and I'm sure they will want to avenge that loss. They are a great team and move the ball well but I am hoping that the Dutch Lions have a showing like last time. If we battle and compete the whole game like we did last time, I think we have a great chance at winning some very crucial points on the road!
We leave tomorrow and are traveling with the Dayton Dutch Lions Men's USL Pro team to Charleston, South Carolina for their game Friday night before heading up to Charlotte. Both the men's and women's teams play against Charlotte in a double header before returning back to Ohio early Sunday morning! This is our last away trip of the season (our next 3 games are at home) and away trips always bring the unexpected. On our away trip to Virginia Beach we stayed in a "very interesting" hotel in West Virginia and on the trip to Northern Virginia the bus got stuck in traffic and arrived to the game 20 minutes late (the team stretched on the bus and were ready to go!!). While away trips are unpredictable, they always bring great stories but they also cause our team to adapt to each situation which ends up bringing us closer as a team. This closeness has really showed through our play as we are now getting comfortable playing with girls from all different colleges and our soccer is really flowing together well.
Well I am off to pack for the weekend! I'm sure I will have some great stories from this away trip to blog about next week so check back!!
I really should be mentioning this every Wednesday to remind you, but remember today you can receive two free sides with a 1/2-pound sandwich at any City BBQ location as long as you are wearing some UC gear.
Mac-n-Cheese, people. It tastes like cheese-covered dreams.
Let's eat before you do....
--- The Bengals offense has been holding workouts at UC for the last week and a half now and each Wednesday the defense comes up from working out at Ignition for a full-team practice.
They are all at Nippert today putting in the closest thing to work you can when nobody is covering a possible injury.
Anyway, good story from local writaaah and Boston homaaahh, Geoff Hobson, on Butch Jones' view of the workouts. Not surprisingly, third QB Dan LeFevour has been staying with Jones and his family. Jones' family is still close with LeFevour from his days at Central Michigan and kept in contact during the season.
I mentioned here last year that Jones reported LeFevour and Zach Collaros had even started developing a working relationship since LeFevour was around the program so much. They hold the same experiences in this offense and understanding expectations.
When you see the way former players still gravitate toward Jones, his success and connection with players becomes abundantly clear. --- Another reason they gravitate toward him...speeches like this that Tommy G put together for the ticket sales campaign. Yeah, I think I can feel the program. (I'm also positive TG is standing in the background writing two reminders on his notepad, "Make commercial of speech" and "pick up cookies for Bill Koch")
For now, he's trying to stay in shape and work out so when the time comes he will be ready to make an impact in training camp somewhere.
You have to like his attitude:
"You've got to take it as motivation," Binns said, "work harder and prove
Binns finished the year 14th in the country in receiving yards per game. Of the top 10 draft-eligible players in that stat, only Binns and Jordan White of Western Michigan were not drafted. Hard to figure out, but Binns will latch on somewhere.
--- Athlon Sports sent out its preseason publication and kept consistent with the few we've seen already. Isaiah Pead, JK Schaffer and DJ Woods were on the Big East first team. Zach Collaros and punter Pat O'Donnell landed on the second team. Derek Wolfe, Alex Hoffman and Dominique Battle earned third team honors.
Anybody who thinks Derek Wolfe would be on the third wave of defensive linemen if the Big East put one team together needs their head checked. Wolfe has been constantly underrated nationally and has the capability to prove a ton of pundits wrong by season's end.
--- Athlon also ranked UC's running backs as the best position group in the conference. With Pead, Darrin Williams, George Winn, Jameel Poteat and Akise Teague, among others, the pool runs deep with the top individual talent at the top.
Can't disagree there. --- The latest question Athlon posed was if West Virginia is still the Big East favorite with the recent coaching transition? The magazine says yes in this blog. They don't see Holgorsen's first stint as a head coach holding the team back.
--- This sparked a thought (Caution: Typically dangerous proposition): What is the success rate of career assistants in their first year as head coaches in comparison to leaders with previous head coaching experience?
I took a look back at 2010 to find out (experience only as coach in bowl game does not count): Career Assistants: Coach School Rcrd +/- '09 wins Rob Ianello Akron 1-11 -2 Jeff Quinn Buffalo 2-10 -3 Dan Enos CMich 3-9 -9 Ruffin McNeil ECU 6-7 -3 Jimbo Fisher FSU 10-4 +3 Joker Phillips UK 6-6 -1 Sonny Dykes La. Tech 5-7 +1 Charlie Strong Louisville 7-6 +3
John Holliday Marshall 5-7 -2
Larry Porter Memphis 1-11 -1 Mike MacIntyre San Jose 1-12 -1 Robbie Caldwell Vandy 2-10 -- Willie Taggart WKU 2-10 +2 ----------------------------------------------------------- TOTALS 51-110 -13
Previous head coaches Coach School Record +/- '09 wins Butch Jones UC 4-8 -8 Turner Gill Kansas 3-9 -2 Todd Berry La-Monroe 5-7 -1 Brian Kelly ND 8-5 +2 Derek Dooley Tenn. 6-7 -1 T. Tuberville TTech 8-5 -1 Bobby Hauck UNLV 2-11 -3 Lane Kiffin USC 8-5 -1 Skip Holtz USF 8-5 -- Mike London Virginia 4-8 +1 ----------------------------------------------------------- TOTALS 56-70 -14
--- The results of the research prove...very little. That's good news for West Virginia fans. Whether a career assistant or coach with previous head coaching experience, the results are barely distinguishable from each other. The previous coaches held better records, but only because most of them were promoted to schools with winning reputations.
Now, if you only look at BCS schools, the results alter slightly. The BCS schools hiring career assistants saw a +5 result from the previous year with two of the four coaches improving by three wins apiece (Strong, Fisher).
The previous coaches joining the BCS were -10 on the earlier results. Many of those numbers come from the extenuating circumstances here at UC, which we have gone into ad nauseum since the end of last football season. But, obviously, following in the footsteps of the best team in school history by the numbers, without a senior starter on defense and almost entirely new coaching staff created unusual circumstances compared to the rest of the sample.
That said, the differential in improvement comes as a surprise. Only two of the eight possible coaches saw an improvement in their record from the previous year.
Reasons for this? Hard to do anything but speculate, but assistants are less likely to stick to a system they know works or apply the dynamics of a previous job to the current one. They would be more likely to stick with the existing status quo in some situations because they don't have a previous head coaching experience to base it on.
Convincing players to "buy-in" always comes as the toughest challenge for a new coach taking on new players. Some of those coaches, such as Jimbo Fisher, Joker Phillips and Robbie Caldwell were already on the staff and provided a smooth transition from a familiar face. Arguably, Fisher would be the greatest success story of the first-year coaches last season, but in fact, most would claim he was running the FSU program behind figurehead Bobby Bowden for a few years.
I'd call that a limited argument with thousands of other dynamics playing into those records, but my snap analysis nonetheless.
At the end of the day, dealing with the transition of a new head coach, regardless of previous history, can be a trying experience. A total of 27 fewer wins than 2009 proves that.
In regards to how it affects Dana Holgorsen at WVU, the program taking on a new coach will likely endure growing pains in the process, but as a career assistant, lack of experience as the head honcho likely won't be a significant factor. --- Regular MLBearcats update: Big night for Tony Campana, who came on late to rip a double in the 10th inning and score the game-winning run in a 5-4 walk-off win for the Cubs.
--- Damaging SPF newsfor my albino brethren everywhere. I may just order my sun-poisoning pills now. --- The U.S. Open is this week, most of you are already dozing off just reading that sentence, but I'm a huge golf fan. More importantly, something I've been saying for years is golfers shouldn't be afraid to show more of their personality. Lack of a rooting interest because these guys are seen as robots has become a big problem in its drive for exposure. There are many reasons Tiger Woods helped golf explode nationally, but one of them is that people loved having somebody to root for.
All of that said, that's why I love Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler letting go and putting out this fake boy band video. Ohh layli layli!!!!
I wanted the dust to settle a little bit and wait to hear from the new coach before weighing in on the other football power in the state. Now that Jim "The Vest" Tressel is gone (what a great MMA name) and the new coach has been named could you start off his regime with anymore arrogance and stupidity. To claim you didn't know anything is confirming you don't need to be coaching or that Ohio State wants someone to keep the tradition of taking care of players going but just watch out for the banana peel. I have been around college and professional athletics enough to know it is highly and I mean highly unlikely the high ranking assistants don't know what's going on in their program.
Ok so he doesn't know. I don't know him so he gets the benefit of the doubt. What I do know is this is NOT a program in peril because of Terrelle Pryor. Jim Tressel was there and doing whatever before Pryor and the insane belief that he is the problem is comedy at its best. I wonder where Pryor learned to disregard rules? hmmmm his head coach did it. I wonder where Pryor learned to say one thing and do another? Again Coach Tressel lead the way. I could go on but you get the picture and I don't want to be like Alan on "Two and a Half Men" rambling on and on.
Ohio State had a coach who violated NCAA rules at Youngstown State allegedly and that is why Ohio State put a clause in his contract to notify them should something happen. Someone should have notified Ohio State that if you have to do that you should probably hire someone else. Maybe they thought he would notify them...yeah sure;
Either way it goes it is sad for college athletics and really turns up the debate of athletes getting paid. I say they should for the money they generate the university and other programs. There are arguments for both sides of the coin but I think anyone that says they shouldn't be given something believes in exploitation.
Athletes by far, the more talented ones, come from backgrounds of hunger and void of opportunity. They are representing more than themselves when they come to college; they carry the hopes and dreams of family members relying on them for a better life. If that isn't pressure enough then they are expected to perform at a high level for the benefit of the university and college athletics watching their jerseys and likeness prostituted for profit while being told they can't accept $5 or a upscale meal.
Yeah sis boom bah for good old state U! Doesn't mean the same when you've been captured by the game.
Sad day for the UC athletics department yesterday as news spread of the passing of former QB Tom O'Malley at the age of 85.
He's a member of the UC Athletics Hall of Fame for his performance from 1946-49. He led the nation in passing yards in 1949 (1,617) with 16 touchdowns. He was a charter member of the Ring of Honor.
O'Mallley eventually played professionally with the Browns and Packers before winning a Grey Cup with the Ottawa RoughRiders.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory and in honor of Thomas L.
O'Malley to the York VNA Hospice Services, 540 S George St., York, PA 17401,
717-846-9900; or the National Children's Cancer Society, One South Memorial Dr.,
Suite 800, St. Louis, MO 63102, 314-241-1600 or online at www.thenccs.org/ Bill Koch posted this story with photos and quotes from former teammates.
The QB held a special place in the development of the UC football tradition and will be missed.
Let's eat... --- Andrea Adelson perused the Big East football preview guide which was released yesterday and came up with a few football nuggets to warm your belly. Among those are the start dates for football camps. UC reports on Aug. 7 and holds its first practice on Aug. 8.
Among the most interesting statistics the preview talks about in the opening notebook section is that the Big East ranks second among BCS conferences in non-conference play over the past five years. (168-63, .723)
Those numbers might surprise considering the ugly publicity the conference received for the non-con busts of last season, but over a wider span, the conference has more than held its own outside its own fences.
Adelson even took a look at the non-con schedule for next year and the most important games that will go a long way in making folks forget about the 2010 failures. Nobody can claim the conference shies away from prominent early-season matchups.
The Bearcats will be one of the teams taking on the big, bad SEC. WVU hosts LSU while UC travels to Tennessee.
Quick did you know aside: The Big East holds a winning record against the SEC over the past six years (10-8). Now, those wins aren't exactly breaking up the string of five-consecutive national championships, but hold your own against that caliber of conference means something.
Even further, consider this: The Big East owns a winning record in non-con regular season games against the SEC in the entire BCS era (20-15). Only the Pac-10 also holds a plus-.500 distinction (12-9).
Actually, the Big Ten is the conference which gives the Big East fits. It hasn't managed a winning record against the Leaders and Legends since 2004. They are 6-14 in that span.
Want more conference vs conference numbers? Click here.
--- Also of note, for the fifth consecutive season the Big East finished with a winning record in bowl season, they were 4-2 last year. The conference takes heat for its lack of success in BCS games, but as a whole has traditionally fared well in the postseason.
The conference has lost three consecutive BCS games (UC 2x, UConn last year), but prior to that won three in a row. Of course, in college football, three years feels like three decades, but to claim the Big East can't compete at the highest level in the BCS era would be the assumption of those with incredibly short attention spans.
In fact, last season was the worst performance by far for the Big East
during the BCS era. The 3-12 mark against BCS schools was only rivaled
by the 2005 season where the conference went 5-14. Of course, it bounced
back the next season to go 14-7. --- Hunter Tickel at the News Record takes a look at what to expect from UC Athletics next season. Call it a Cliff's Notes version of the UC Sports Book for those of you who have been skipping the Bearcats Breakfast for the past two semesters. By the way, for those of you who have been skipping...I'm not mad, just disappointed.
--- Some randomness....
--- I had the $6.6 billion, then I went downstairs to check the laundry, I stopped for a snack....what did I do with that money? --- It doesn't matter if you think you are right, don't challenge Wright Thompson. If you do, it better be about a serious topic and you better have some serious evidence to support your hypothesis. The guy is the greatest sports storyteller in the business right now. Pieces like this are why Deadspin has fallen off the map of relevancy. --- Encouraging newsfrom the Clarence Clemons camp.
Would it be awkward if I asked Huey to play Power of Love four times? Should I maybe pose the question to The News first, then let them approach Huey? --- Ever thought about how absurd your social media life can be when applied to real life? This guy has. Results are creepy, ironic and chuckle-worthy. (H/t Hot Clicks)
After running my first 5K race this weekend, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Not only did I finish, but did so in a better time than expected at 33 minutes.
I came home, relaxed and reveled in my grand accomplishment then turned to see the NCAA Track and Field Championships to check out how the UC duo of Terrence Somerville and Eric Finan would do in their events. I proceeded to watch the Kenyan Army run a 5K in 13 minutes, 29 seconds. Pretty humbling. Not quite as demoralizing as watching a woman blow by me during the race pushing a stroller with three large children inside it, but perspective nonetheless.
Certainly a congrats to Finan, who shaved five seconds off his own school record (13:44:91) and earned All-American status with his 10th-place finish. He was only 15 seconds behind Liberty's Sam Chalenga, shockingly of Kenya, who won the title.
Let's eat... --- Terrence Somerville knew he would need a near perfect run and a little bit of good luck to return to Cincinnati with the school's first NCAA Track and Field title. He had neither. In fact, he had the opposite.
Texas Tech's Omo Osaghee tripped over a hurdle and fell into Somerville's lane early in the race, throwing off his rhythm. He proceeded to clip the next two hurdles and hit the sixth with his lead foot then running into the next hurdle. He was disqualified.
It was an unfortunate break for UC's top hurdler, who eventually placed seventh, still earning All-American honors.
One bad break and disappointing final doesn't wash out a fantastic season for the junior, who will be favored to earn a shot at redemption next season.
--- On Friday, we talked about the need for WVU to address the turmoil between Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen. Well, that afternoon they did.
Stewart is officially out at West Virginia and Holgorsen steps in as head coach.
If you want information on every angle of the transition for one of the favorites to win the division next season, just head over to the Big East Blog. Andrea Adelson has the thing covered top to bottom.
Rather the quibble over the coach-in-waiting process or bruised egos, let's look at what this means for UC. The entire mess only helps the Bearcats. As every UC fan can attest, being a coach in Year 1 at a school can be a difficult transition. WVU now owns the same issues UC did last year of everyone adjusting and buying into the new voice. Only, with a six-month deficit in place.
Considering the returning quarterback and talent on the Mountaineers roster, the coaching change causing a few extra losses could open up the entire Big East for other teams to swoop in and take the title -- not that it wasn't a wide-open race already.
--- The Big East coaches only get younger and more inexperienced. Here's your list:
School/Coach Entering into UC/Butch Jones 2nd year UConn/Paul Pasqualoni 1st year Louisville/Charlie Strong 2nd year Pitt/Todd Graham 1st year Rutgers/Greg Schiano 11th year USF/Skip Holtz 2nd year Syracuse/Doug Marrone 3rd year WVU/Dana Holgorsen 1st year
Anybody want to take a run at predicting the finish from that group of unknown quantities?
That's a remarkable list, but only shadows a trend across college football of a constant coaching carousel. The success of Auburn's Gene Chizik and Oregon's Chip Kelly, advancing to the title game in their second seasons, won't help thoughts on continuity among ADs.
Of course, coaches understand the new era of college football when they sign up for it: Win now or get out. As a high school football coach once told me, "I'm only hired to eventually be fired." --- Michigan and Notre Dameunveiled their new retro unis. Like.
Despite placing sixth of eight runners in the heat times, Somerville's chances are better than the numbers suggest. He actually knocked over his first two hurdles and that slowed him down before he made a late charge. With a clean run, he has a chance to make a championship push.
Soon after Somerville runs, Eric Finan will compete in the 5,000 meters in his attempt to deliver UC its first NCAA title.
--- Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post thinks Kenyon Martin's time is up with the Nuggets. K-Mart is now 33 years old and with Denver trending toward a youth movement, his presence and massive $16.5 million salary make little sense in the mix.
Martin's numbers have settled into the backside of the career curve -- despite a spike to 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds in 2009-10. He contributed his lowest average points of his career last year (8.6) and only grabbed 6.2 rebounds a game. Not to mention, injuries have allowed to play in 106 of 164 possible regular season games the past two seasons.
That's nothing to be ashamed of for the developmental project from Texas. His career salary currently sits at $108.3 million. There are worse situations.
Somebody thinking they are close to winning a championship would maybe be willing to deal for Martin and let him play a defensive rebounding role for them off the bench. If that were to happen, all the better for Kenyon who would benefit from the decreased stress on his body over the course of the season.
Here was Cal's comments, as taken from Eric Crawford's Courier-Journal blog:
"This is no knock on the Big East but they've had 19 teams in the Tournament the
last two years and how many have made it by the first round? How is this
happening? When they start playing each other they say the 11th team is really
good. What? We have to figure out how you play the best schedule you can play
and still win. That's different for all of us. I think that's more important
than 16 or 18 (conference) games."
This debate will rage on until Kentucky and Louisville decides to hold college mixers together. Both sides have valid points. It will also serve as a lovely backdrop for the SEC-Big East challenge going forward.
If you are looking at the debate strictly from an NCAA tournament performance perspective, here's what we know.
In the 2011, tournament, the Big East went 13-10 overall (obviously, thanks to the 6-0 UConn run). They upset a higher seed three times (13% of total games) and lost to a lower seed six times (26%). Four Big East teams were bounced in the first round (25%). And, oh yeah, the conference won the national championship, going through the SEC champion in the Final Four.
The SEC went 7-5, upsetting a higher seed once (UK over OSU, 8%) and losing to a lower seed twice (16%). Three of their five teams were bounced in the first round (60%).
To make that easier to compare, here's a table:
2011 tourney Record BeatHighSeed LostLower Out1stRd Final4 Big East 13-10/56.5% 3/13% 6/26% 4/36% 1 SEC 7-5/58.3% 1/8% 2/16% 3/60% 1
2010 tourney Record BeatHighSeed LostLower Out1stRd Final4
Big East 8-7/53.3% 1/7% 5/33% 4/50% 1
SEC 6-4/60.0% 1/8% 2/20% 2/50% 0
TOTALS Record BeatHighSeed LostLower Out1stRd Final4 Big East 21-17/55.2% 4/11% 11/30% 8/42% 2
SEC 13-9/59.0% 2/9% 4/18% 5/55% 1
So, if we are looking at John Calipari's hypothesis that the SEC has been this superior team in the NCAA tournament, or at least on par with the Big East in the tournament, I'd say the numbers prove otherwise, and at the very least show them to be near equals.
By percentage, the SEC participants have been knocked out in the first round at a higher rate than the Big East. For Calipari to be calling out the Big East's first-round failures so loudly, it would be helpful if his conference wasn't being booted on Day 1 at such an alarming rate.
Cal could point to the SEC placing two teams in the Elite 8 each of the past two seasons, but only one of them advanced to the Final 4 with Cal's Wildcats losing to a Big East team to end their season both times. I'm not calling out sour grapes here, but if I were to lose to my Uncle in the family bocce ball tournament two years in a row, I certainly wouldn't be questioning his skills at Thanksgiving dinner.
Granted, the Big East has underperformed in the tournament the past two years compared to expectations. The losses to lower seeds prove that. Too many teams have been upset. But when taking into account the domination the league has consistently shown in non-conference regular season games and amount of wins garnered to place so many more teams in the Big Dance and impress the committee (isn't that the whole point of the regular season?), I have a hard time buying Cal's contention that the Big East has been overvalued.
I don't own the pulpit to call the SEC "second-rate," but I do own the medium to point out the shortcomings in Calipari's criticisms. It's just too bad a depleted St. John's team will be the BE rep playing Kentucky in the BE/SEC challenge this year.
--- Andrea Adelson updatesthe rumor stew swirling around Morgantown and Bill Stewart. She rightly points out the No Publicity is Bad Publicity method of marketing isn't helping WVU right now. And decision time needs to show up fast. --- NCAA Football 2012 has sent out demos and being reviewed right now. Among the changes, conference realignment in the dynasty mode. So, in case you don't get enough superconference talk in reality, you can invent your own rumors.
--- Rap concerts are hit and miss (mostly miss), but Lil' Wayne is coming to Riverbend Sept. 10 and tickets are on sale now. --- This video is almost certainly a spoof, but the execution is flawless. If you need something to do this weekend, this young lady is looking for a date. It would help if you approached her with a basket full of cats.
Well another school year has came to an end here at UC! While it's sad to see everyone going home, it will be a nice to be done with school until the end of September and concentrate only on soccer! We ended the school year with an All-Sports banquet on Saturday morning at Fifth-Third Arena. The UC CATSVision staff did a great job putting together not only a highlight tape but a bloopers tape as well!! We had quite a few laughs and it was really nice for all the sports to get recognized for both their academic and athletic achievements from the past year.
With everyone on different schedules for finals and leaving to go home for the summer, we did our best to get some workouts in this past week with our strength and conditioning coach Kelly Howe. KJ, Ashley, Kaylee and I had quite a suprise in the weight room on Tuesday as a bunch of the Cincinnati Bengals players were training there as well! The Bengals have been using UC's top notch facilities during the NFL lockout for some of their training sessions. It was really cool to train alongside professional athletes and to see Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Dave Andrews kicking their butts!!
With school fresh out of our minds, tomorrow morning some of us are running the beep test along with our academic advisor Keri Thoman! It will be really fun to compete against not only our teammates but Keri as well! Keri is our reining Women's Soccer Touch Football MVP from our fall game and she is quite the competitor so I know she will be working hard to beat us! It will also be a great to run the beep test before preseason as it will be the first time many of us have ran it.
Off to bed to be up for practice and the beep test in the morning! Hopefully it goes well!! Make sure to watch the All-Sports highlight video and the Bloopers video on GoBearcats.com and if your in the Dayton area Saturday night come out and support the Dayton Dutch Lions and some of your UC women's soccer players as we take on Virginia Beach Piranhas at Bellbrook High School 7pm!
Kathy Klump saw her run at UC's first NCAA title come to an end last night, but not before she lowered her own UC school record in the 800 meters. Despite running a new low time of 2:05.46, she finished fifth in a semifinal heat where she needed to land in the top two.
You can't ask for much more than setting a personal best at the biggest meet of your career. Plus, the junior will be back with UC next year and have another chance to take the next step. Congratulations to Kathy on a great season.
Let's eat... --- As for the MLBearcats update, Wednesday was a banner day for UC baseball. Tony Campana, Josh Harrison and Kevin Youkilis all started, all had hits and all contributed to victories. Not a bad day at all.
Campana went 2 for 4 with his team-leading sixth stolen base in the Cubs 4-1 win over the Reds.
Harrison went 1 for 4 in a 3-2 Pirates win in 12 innings, sending the fightin' Jeremy Martins to the .500 mark on the season.
Youkilis went 1 for 4 with a walk and run scored in Boston's 11-6 win against the Evil Empire.
As far as I can guess, Jim Boeheim will probably be interested in a combination of four power forward/centers. Here's the group he's choosing from. Possibly a few of these guys could float to the small forward position, but most are destined to play in the post. Player School Pos Hgt Wgt PPG REB Tim Abromaitis Notre Dame F/C 6-9 235 15.4 6.1 Yancy Gates Cincinnati F 6-9 260 11.9 6.9 Draymond Green Michigan St. F 6-7 230 12.6 8.6 JaMychal Green Alabama F 6-8 225 15.5 7.5 Greg Mangano Yale F 6-10 240 16.3 10.0 Trevor Mbakwe Minnesota F/C 6-8 241 13.9 10.5 Alex Oriakhi UConn F/C 6-9 240 9.6 8.7 Aaric Murray LaSalle C 6-11 265 15.2 7.7
This will be a tough bunch to choose from. Gates holds the biggest advantage in size. Outside of Murray, nobody can match his combination size and power. Obviously, his stats are on the bottom end of this pool, he's second to last in rebounds and second to last in points. But anybody who watched UC the final 10 games of the season, knows he played more like a 16 and 8 guy than 12-7 guy. The best news is, Boeheim will be well aware of that fact.
Boeheim loves length, so that favors a player like Oriakhi, who blocks so many shots. It would be easy to count out players from smaller schools like Mangano and Murray, but take into consideration Mangano reeled off six double-doubles in his final seven games last season.
Abromaitis brings experience as the oldest player of the group, though, no international play experience.
These decisions will eventually come down to the vision Boeheim and head coach Matt Painter have in their head for constructing the bunch, but Gates will need to put together a heck of a camp to make this group (and you can say the same for everyone this list).
--- The amount of talentRick Pitino has collected should be unnerving for Bearcats fans. I still can't believe this scholarship situation. Mick needs to contact his buddy and ask him to share the wealth.
Last night, the Cincinnati Reds delivered a special moment for Bearcats RHP Dan Jensen. The Centerville native was drafted in the 20th round, 635th overall in the MLB Draft.
Jensen led the way for the UC pitching staff with a 3.11 ERA including a dominant outing against Georgetown this season where he threw a complete-game allowing no earned runs with 11 strikeouts.
"It's such a dream come true," said
Jensen. "(Reds area scout) Brad Meador called me before the 20th round and told
me the Reds were going to take me this round. It's just a dream come
His 6-foot-8 frame and penchant for strikeouts reminds of current rising relief star Logan Ondrusek. Ondrusek was a 13th-round pick out of high school in 2005, but the size and power could create a model to follow.
Looking at the history of the draft, being selected in the 20th round as a pitcher isn't without previous success stories. Tim Worrell, who pitched 13 successful seasons went in the 20th round in 1989. Gene Garber, of 218 career saves, went in Round 20 in 1965.
Interested in some more late-round success stories:
Roy Oswalt, 23rd Round, Astros 1996
Jake Peavy, 15th Round, Padres, 1999
Kenny Rogers, 39th Round, Texas, 1982
Orel Hersheiser, 17th Round, Dodgers, 1979
When you start considering position players the list grows even more:
Russell Martin, 17th Round, Dodgers 2002
Albert Pujols, 13th Round, Cardinals, 1999
Dan Uggla, 11th Round, Diamondbacks, 2001
Mike Lowell, 20th Round, Yankees, 1995
Mark Grace; 24th Round, Phillies, 1985
Mike Piazza, 62nd Round, Dodgers, 1988
The bottom line being, Jensen will be given an opportunity to advance and plenty before him have risen from a late-round draft pick to All Stars in the bigs. Big congrats to Dan and best of luck to him in rookie ball.
--- The other big story around campus as classes wrap up for the semester is the three athletes advancing to nationals for track and field.
The always strong Kevin Goheen wrote this story on the local participants at the national meet in Iowa. At the top of the list is Terrence Somerville. He competes in the 110-meter high hurdles and is only hundredths of a second off the school-record accomplished by David Payne.
He enters the competition with the 8th-fastest time in the event at 13.55. Remember, UC has never had a national champion in track and field.
The other two UC athletes in Iowa are Eric Finan in the 5,000 meters and Kathy Klump in the 800 meters. Klump and Finan both set school records in their events this season.
The action will begin tonight with Klump running her event.
--- Here's a list of the Top 10 most iconic hip-hop performances on MTV. I'd slide Snoop Dogg from the '94 VMAs up the list. --- When you get allyour Facebook friends tattooed on your arm, does that lock all of them into keeping the same profile picture for the rest of their lives? Seems unfair thing for a friend to do.
--- Here's some Pearl Jam, because they are incredible.
As Kerry Coombs motivated with this spring, "just because we return 11 starters, doesn't mean we will be better." As long as each player improves, the potential to be one of the better defenses in the Big East exists.
If what this reporter contends proves true, the Stewart exit should be fast-tracked. The concept could only survive under the pretense both sides could co-exist fighting for the same team. These allegations infer there are two West Virginias battling each other.
This team could be one of the most interesting to follow next year. Combine all their talent with a combustible coaching situation and you have some quality storylines.
Sidenote: When this situation is made into a movie, Matthew McConaughey will be playing Dana Holgorson. No brainer.
--- One of the sixTop 100 recruits of Steve Lavin may not suit up next season. His 90-plus mph fastball is the reason why. But his story is much more interesting than that. Luke Winn has a great piece on Amir Garrett's big decision. --- Time for the daily MLBearcats update: The Cubs were the only one of the three teams to play Monday night. He came into the game as a pinch-hitter against the Reds and grounded out to Paul Janish. It took an incredible defensive effort by Janish (Baseball Tonight Web Gem, to be exact) to beat the speedy Campana down the line.
Campana is now hitting .258 in 33 plate appearances with five stolen bases.
Josh Harrison is now hitting .238 in 22 plate appearances for the Pirates.
The All-Sports Banquet was this weekend, and Tommy G broke out the video editing skills to compile the greatest moments of the year in Bearcats sports. If you have time -- and if you reading this blog right now, I assume you do -- check out the all-sports video. Opening with Mumford and Sons draws two thumbs up from this blog.
The old gag reel also made its way into the banquet, here's the deleted scenes of UC sports including a special appearance from the Burger King. Great work, per usual, from TG and all the UC sports staff.
Let's eat... --- Patrick Snow of Athlon Sports placed UC hoops among his teams to watch next season. The Bearcats potential is no secret. Add Snow to the list of many people who will likely be hopping on the bandwagon between now and November. --- It appeared StephanieNiemer and UC volleyball coach Reed Sunahara had spent their finalmoments on the court together when Niemer played her final game as BE player of the year earlier this season. However, the two will be reunited in the China-USA volleyball challenge, a international event in Beijing.
--- Juwan Staten is an extremely talented point guard, but clearly caused problems within the Dayton basketball locker room last year. He is transferring to West Virginia. I'v got a feeling his relationship with Bob Huggins will have some entertaining growing pains. --- Any true Bearcats basketball fan fondly remembers the Great Alaska Shootout -- in particular the 1998 edition. (Personal note: Melvin Levett's dunk ranks in my top three favorite UC athletics moments of all time)
Some randomness... --- If you get bitten by a kitten, you should probably keep the pain to yourself. If it happens because you "tried to tie a string around its neck," you should never speak again of the incident.
--- Apologies for the late and brief blog today, extenuating circumstances. I will be back on track tomorrow. I'll make it up to you, however, with some Journey. Heals all wounds.
Doesn't football season feel closer today? Can you start to hear the echoes of air horns and smell the slight stench of the tailgate grill? OK, maybe instead you smell the exhaust from cars holding 100,000 fans squeezing into the roads leading to Neyland Stadium, but you know what I mean.
UC announced the Sept. 10 showdown with Tennessee will be at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2. And football season feels like more of a reality today.
Instead of talking about appellate courts and labor negotiations, we're talking about kickoff times and arranging road trip plans. All feels right with the world.
Perhaps in the midst of a normal offseason, yesterday's note about the UT game time would pass with a benign acknowledgment. Perhaps the news would fall unnoticed somewhere between Joey Votto's blast and the piles of untouched mulch taunting you in your backyard.
I don't know, for me, it felt different. It made me want to look at matchups. It made me want to do research on the opponent. It definitely made me wish we didn't have three months until the game. But it made it real. Considering the state of football right now, I'll take that.
--- If any advantages or disadvantages can be derived from a game time, I guess the only advantage would be avoiding Neyland Stadium at night. Playing in front of 100,000+ when they've had all day to sauce up feels much more intimidating than doing so in the light of the afternoon.
Though, Neyland doesn't hold the evening allure of Tiger Stadium, where the Tigers are 51-5 when the sun goes down on the bayou.
--- Not surprisingly but most importantly, the game will be on national TV. The amazing aspect of college football is no matter how bad the previous season, it only takes one game to sway the national image of a program. This would be that game for UC. --- A tough blow for UConn, who lost its top returning receiver.
--- Not sure how I missed this one earlier in the week, but Jeff Eisenberg at the Dagger looked at the UC-Ohio State basketball rivalry and spoke about why it needs to be resuscitated. Mick Cronin says the longstanding order at that school has been not to schedule Cincinnati. Not playing quality in-state opponents has been the MO there for decades. Xavier and UD also understand the concept.
Particularly with UC's latest revival, the matchup would make sense, but OSU has its eyes on more national events and it seemingly feels beyond regional appeal at this point.
I only wish for a minute OSU could stop thinking about university traditions, exposure effects and TV ratings and start thinking about who would be most positively affected by a series such as this: local college basketball fans. You know, the people who pay money to attend game?
Doesn't enough criticism exist of college hoops only drawing interest in March? Natural rivalries are an easy way to help fix that.
I'll say the same thing Cronin said, no whining here. This is not meant to be a finger-pointing session. Everyone owns a right to their own philosophy. But there are two large fan bases who would absolutely love to attend this game every year and will instead watch a game in another state against Florida. --- Good read onJosh Harrison from Shawn Sell here at GoBearcats. Harrison offers his own thanks to everyone in the UC community that helped him reach the Majors.
Some randomness... --- I'm a big Spelling Bee fan. Watching those kids reel off however many in a row was absurd.
Is it necessary to hang the giant placards around their necks for idenification? Was Flava Flav's clock not available? We do have technology to place lower-thirds of information below them. As if these kids aren't awkward enough, they need a billboard hanging from their neck.
--- For those who went to bed before the Dallas magic last night, I'm sorry. You missed one of the most remarkable comebacks in NBA Finals history and an epic lesson in why being "too Hollywood," as Joakim Noah dubbed the Heat, can cost games.
Oh, and why Chris Bosh shouldn't be guarding Dirk Nowitzki with the game on the line.
I'd like to share this stat from The Big Lead:
Since NBA Finals went 2-3-2, 11 NBA Finals have been tied at 1-1. In those 11 series, winner of Game 3 has won the title.
--- Maybe the first truly encouraging news coming out of the lockout situation yet. I'm trying not to get my hopes up. --- Brandon Phillips spent his first off day in three weeks at Kings Island, riding rides and taking pictures with fans. There's a reason he's quickly become one of the most popular sports figures in this town and even beyond it. (Ending up in SportsCenter's Top 10 plays every third day doesn't hurt, either)
Because it's Friday that means celebration music. In honor of Joe Maddon's move, it only seems appropriate one of my favorite old school Pearl Jam tunes with a grunge look straight out of '92 takes the spot for the weekend kickstarter. Have fun.
This is the first of many blogs coming to you keeping you updated with the Bearcats! We have been hard at work in the weight room and the classroom this past week with the school year FINALLY ending next week!! I think I can speak for most of the girls when I sat that school cannot be finished soon enough! While we are all excited about classes ending, some of us couldn't wait to get started preparing for the fitness tests this preseason and started training on our own. We have already ran 3 out of our 6 fitness tests the past two weeks and on Wednesday we had a group out to run the Man-U test. Despite the heat, the results look very promising for the real preseason test! It has been a great training atmosphere to send off our team as we all head to play with our summer teams before coming back to campus in mid-July.
This summer I will be playing with Kay, Hebs, and Logan for the Dayton Dutch Lions, a new W-League team out of Dayton, Ohio. The W-League is currently the second highest level of women's soccer in the United States soccer pyramid and we are in the very competitive Atlantic Division playing teams from Atlanta, Charlotte, Virginia Beach, Northern Virginia, and Fredricksburg (Virginia). We are 2 and 1 so far this summer after beating a very skilled and experienced Charlotte team this past weekend in our home opener. It's been really fun so far and it will be great this summer to get a lot of extra practice in.
We have our final leadership council meeting tomorrow morning (I'm hoping Tiff brings in donuts again!!). I am so proud of all the things we have accomplished this year in the those meetings. We have laid out the standards for our programs and we have really brought our team together and made some really positive changes. It has been really great to see how everyone has bought in to our program and made a commitment to move in the right direction to be a top Big East team!
Well I'm off to a much needed break from studying and going out to dinner with Kay and EK! Good Luck to all our Bearcats during finals week and safe travels back home!!
Remember, the next stop is Wednesday in West Chester.
Our own Scott Springer popped out to find Jones in the parking lot and fired off some offseason questions. Here's his story with the answers he received.
--- ESPN officially posted Phil Steele's All-Big East teams. I had the list here for you last week and discussed it, so I won't go any further except to continue my point on the slight bias held for West Virginia. The Mountaineers were without a player on the second team, but owned a whopping 10 on the first team. That's from a team returning 12 starters. Either Steele overestimates the value of the returning WVU players or holds stock in their national exposure.
Not one should have been on the second team instead of the first? Not one?
Since you should know by now my affinity for recent historical research, I figured I'd take a look at if we can draw any encouraging or discouraging conclusions from those numbers. So, I took a look at the teams from last season with double-digit starters returning on either side of the ball and viewed their rankings/progress from 2009 to 2010.
Remember, UC's defense was ranked 63rd last season.
The rankings are based on total offense or defense (yards/game): Team Unit 09Rank 10Rank Difference Ball St. Off (11) 114 106 +8 Boise St. Off (11) 10 2 +8 Boise St. Def (10) 14 2 +12 Georgia Off (10*) 75 56 +19 Idaho Def (10) 107 95 +12 Miami (OH) Off (10) 84 82 +2 N. Texas Off (10) 36 63 -27 Oregon Off (10) 33 1 +32 Syracuse Def (10) 37 7 +30 Washington Off (10) 62 76 -14 Wisconsin Off (10) 30 21 +9
TOTAL DIFFERENCE=+91/11 teams= +8.2 average
(*QB did not return)
--- The numbers are about what you'd expect, proving the previously known hypothesis that teams will improve with nearly all/most their starters returning. Obviously.
For me, the question was how much? Particularly, looking at the three teams returning defensive starters in Boise State jumping from 10th to 2nd and Syracuse making the quantum leap from 37th to 7th. Idaho worked its way out of triple digits from 107 to 95. The sample size is small, but they did take steps forward. I'd also like to point out the Cuse jump came in the second season of a new coach. Just sayin. --- Offensive execution can be a different story. The loss of a single playmaker or, more specifically, quarterback can flip the script, whereas defensive injuries for the most part can be easier to mask. That explains North Texas (the Mean Green were embedded with QB problems) and Washington (the unpredictable statistical regression of Jake Locker).
That said, we see another unit returning double-digit players in the second year of a new coach take the biggest jump -- that being Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks flying from 33 to No. 1 overall and playing for the national championship. Again, just sayin. --- So, should the fan base be expecting UC to turn the No. 63 defense into one of the Top 25 defenses in the country? No, that's unrealistic. But to claim this defense can't be Top 50 or 40 by season's end would be false. Numbers insist that's entirely possible. With the weapons available on offense, that would be enough to take a major step in the right direction for Jones and company.
--- Am I the only one that feels like coaches paying football players $300 a game out of their own pockets is opening Pandora's Bank Account? The fact that it was proposed by Steve Spurrier should make it even more concerning.
--- Bill Koch caughtup with Mick Cronin yesterday. A wide-ranging offseason read about the accomplishments of last season and needs of the 2011-12 campaign.
No real surprises except I was slightly taken aback by the apparent severity of Cashmere Wright's knee injury. We knew Cash was hurting most of the season, but clearly the injury was worse than any of us knew. Cronin said Wright struggled to come out of the locker room for the second half against UConn.
Cronin said, "if he's full strength, I really like our chances." The "if" makes every fan worry. Hopefully all aspects of the rehab from his surgery go well and Wright can make it back on the floor. It will be a story I'll monitor closely for you throughout the offseason.
Some randomness... --- After Hangover II produced two hours from the department of redundancy department, it's disappointing to see Hangover III is already in the works. The negative backlash from the disappointment of the last movie won't allow the box office smash of last weekend to repeat itself. --- Joey Votto. Bomb. The shot was estimated at 439 feet. I'd venture to say it was longer than that. --- It was time for Shaq to retire, but can't help but say I'm sad to see him go. The guy was incredible for the game of basketball. Hopefully we'll still see funny ads like this one.
I'm not sure you can get a black t-shirt with the dates printed on it, but the "Butch Jones Summer 2011 Tour" is underway and coming to a venue near you.
It began June 1 at City Barbecue in Westwood with the Bearcat Caravan and women's basketball coach Jamelle Elliott. The UC Coaches Caravan will continue June 8 at City Barbecue in West Chester, June 15 at City Barbecue in Hyde Park, June 22 at City Barbecue in Eastgate and June 29 at a City Barbecue to be announced.
Wherever it is, I recommend the pulled North Carolina pork, sweet sauce, vinegar slaw, hush puppies and corn pudding. They have many beverages, but it's tough to go wrong with a sweet tea (something Bearcat receiver D.J. Woods can attest to).
Since one of my sons had a baseball game within decent proximity of the June 1 stop,I decided to intercept the evening's headliner in the parking lot. Jones is enjoying the golf shirt weather and the chance to see the public in various informal settings.
"It's great obviously to get out and about and see our
great fans and talk Bearcat football," Jones said. "It won't be long and
it'll be football season."
In some sick way, you know there's a "countdown to Higher Ground" clock somewhere in the bowels of the Lindner Center football office. The staff takes a week off in July, but by the first of August it's all business, all the time.
June is the month the Bearcats hit some outdoor events and take a peek at future talent.
"We'll welcome about 300 prospective student
athletes with our
miscellaneous camps and unofficial visits to campus with
And, UC's new recruits will be in soon.
"Actually, they show up in June," Jones said. "I'm
excited to see what
this freshman class brings to the table. With Jameel Poteat, Akise
Teague coming in,our six defensive linemen, Trenier Orr, I'm excited."
The six incoming defensive linemen are Chad West of Perry, Ohio, Brandon Mitchell of Withrow, Chad Hannah of Tampa, Florida, Carroll Phillips of Miami, Florida and Demetrius Alston and Silverberry Mouhon of Norcross, Georgia.
Orr, is a defensive back from Ocoee, Florida and Poteat and Teague are running backs. Poteat was the No. 15 running back out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Teague was Ohio's Mr. Football for Division V out of Youngstown Ursuline.
Might these new backs play?
"You can never have enough running backs, it's a
durability," Jones said. "Each individual develops differently at their
One way to develop talent is through repetition and Jones has cooked up a scheme to run double workouts during the upcoming preseason to get some extra looks at players.
It hasn't been finalized, but Jones appears sold on it.
"We've been researching it," Jones said. "The big
thing for us is reps.
With the number two quarterback up for grabs and us getting some
freshmen ready at receiver and other spots, maximum reps is the key."
Assisting the Bearcats in this process, will be former UC defensive back Mike Mickens who accompanied Coach Jones to his first City Barbecue event.
"We're excited to have him," Jones said. "He brings so much to the
table. He has instant respect with the defensive backs having played the
position and played in the National Football League. Beyond that,he's a
Bearcat. He understands what it means to where the C-Paw everyday."
The UC opener is a mere three months away on September 3 at Nippert against Austin Peay.
Forget basketball and football, the University of Cincinnati is officially a baseball school. At least for today.
Three former Bearcats started last night across MLB, with Josh Harrison earning the start and hitting second for Pittsburgh, Tony Campana starting in center for Chicago and Kevin Youkilis holding down his standard spot for Boston.
Most importantly, this was the MLB debut for Harrison. He wasted little time earning his first major league hit and didn't mind adding his first MLB RBI later on in a 5-1 win over the Mets.
Harrison went 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored. Those stats were nice enough, but considering the timing, played an even larger role. Harrison's single in the eighth scored the game-tying run. Then his run scored made it 3-1 to extend the lead.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel posted this blog about Harrison's special night. A nice first-hand account. Unfortunately, Harrison's parents flew in for the Monday game in which Harrison didn't play, but had to leave Tuesday prior to the game.
Here was the photo atop the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's sports page on the web:
--- With all this Campana and Harrison talk, I overlook the steady veteran Youkilis too often. It's easy to take for granted the numbers he puts up. For the record, he's hitting .260 with eight bombs, 14 doubles and is second on the Sox with 34 RBI. Standard Youk.
--- The new ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson with an interesting post about Butch Jones considering splitting up his team into two groups and holding two separate practices. He would run Group A for two hours then start Group B for two hours directly after. It would double the workload for the coaches, who would be out there for four hours straight, but double the reps for his developing players.
When you consider the youth on this team and the obvious depth dilemma faced last season, the idea makes sense on paper. It allows more opportunity to see exactly what these players can do and provide more teachable moments in a more intimate setting.
Why this makes even more sense for a guy like Jones is it's an opportunity to outwork the competition. That's what elevated Jones to his current platform and he knows that's the way he can ascend the Big East ladder.
Jones is only considering the changes at this point, so no idea if he'll follow through, but it will be worth following once August comes around. --- You want to know more about the possible practice changes -- well, you can ask Jones face to face at the Coaches Caravan at the Glenway City BBQ today. (6475 Glenway Ave.)
Women's basketball coach Jamelle Elliott will also be in attendance for today's session. Attendance is free, UC will raffle off some prizes and hold Q&As.
Plus, the bread budding.
Here's the schedule of events:
6:00-6:15 p.m. meet and greet with coaches
6:15-6:40 p.m. Q & A with coaches
6:40-7:00 p.m. autographs (sharpies and autograph cards
will be provided)
7:00 p.m. announce raffle winners
2011 UC Coaches Caravan Schedule
· June 1 - Glenway
· June 8 - West Chester
· June 15 - Hyde Park
· June 22 - Eastgate
· June 29 - TBA
I'll keep you up to date on which coaches will be showing up at the location each week. Mick Cronin and Brian Cleary are expected to join in the future.
--- While we are reminding of summer activities, remember the first of three Mick Cronin summer basketball camps starts in just two weeks. You can find all the details here. --- Stephanie Niemer played in her first professional volleyball season in Puerto Rico. Not surprisingly, she worked her way up to a top option on the team by the end of the season and led them with 32 service aces. Oh, and heading to the beach every off day wasn't a bad deal either. Shawn Sell with the story.
--- Some randomness....
--- When I read that Penn State could have had Larry Brown as their coach if only they showed him they were committed to their basketball program, I could only think of Winston from Ghostbusters:
"When Larry Brown asks you if you are committed to your basketball program, you say YES!" --- Long commutes to work apparently cause many, many more problems than just having to listen to those zany FM morning radio teams.
--- I've seen Extreme Couponing and was intrigued. This is Extreme Ironing and I'm concerned. --- Here's a new video/song from Kings of Leon: Back Down South. It's their latest single and a tribute to their roots. I'm not usually a fan of the new southern rock sound this utilizes, but this one definitely deserves a listen.