So, when I can break away from the regular gig covering high school sports and get to a UC press conference or practice, I do.
For those that don't know my history, I went to school here and spent a great deal of time covering the Bearcats in my radio career before it became really cool to cover the Bearcats.
I enjoy being around the University and miss the opportunity to be around more.
My objective in coming to the Butch Jones Tuesday gathering (catered by City BBQ) was to hopefully run into Zach Collaros and get his opinions on quarterbacking.
Unfortunately, Zach wasn't around.
I did hear Coach Jones speak and I can surmise from his comments that: a) Munchie Legaux has the job to lose b) Jordan Luallen will get a look c) Brendon Kay might get a look and, d) the UC goal is to gain four yards on first down.
Reading between the lines, that sounds like Munchie's still the guy with a somewhat conservative game plan.
Whatever it is, agree or disagree, I hope it works. First and foremost, I have made no secret that I pull for the Bearcats. Theoretically, I'm not supposed to say that.
Honestly, it goes against everything my parents taught me.
I'm one that doesn't think my occupation in the media precludes me from feeling good for a team I'm covering. I did it with UC. I do it for a lot of the high schools I cover.
Truth is, you sometimes become a fan of something by exposure.
My graduation from UC and my previous job that had me physically on the sideline at one point or another for every Bearcat football game from 1994-2007 has given me a perspective that not many are privy to.
I will not apologize for being a fan.
If you listen to ESPN radio (which I do on Sirius/XM to avoid local clutter I'm all too familiar with) Mike Goldberg is as blatant a New York Jets homer as there is.
If you catch Scott Van Pelt in the afternoon, he often integrates coverage of Maryland and the Baltimore Ravens in his show. He's fooling no one.
None of us should have to feel guilty about a passion.
That said, if you think I'm a straight Kool-Aid drinker, think again.
Part of my job covering Bearcat football on the radio was to be truthful to those I was talking to. There was no shortage of folks wanting to call me a "homer", but they apparently didn't listen much.
I often questioned play calls, quarterback choices, and strategy. In Hawaii in 2002, while having bottles and drinks thrown at me while interviewing Rick Minter (the infamous, "This is a disgrace!" quote) I questioned the ridiculous amount of hanger-ons on the sidelines. I even confronted the AD Herman Frazier after the game when I was told that specific group of referees had done numerous Hawaii games.
More potshots were taken, but in the end, I was proven right. Hawaii had several more brawls with teams from the contiguous 48 and now I'm hearing of point-shaving allegations there.
(Aloha from ESPN) At UC, I questioned playing games on weeknights when it affected attendance and the product wasn't ready (38-0 to West Virginia when the lights went out).
To this day, I question taking home conference games to Paul Brown Stadium, particularly, HOMECOMING. (You guys have been down this path before.)
I don't like the red pants, not big on the red tops and I think every bad karma white helmet from the Sugar Bowl should be shot through the ROTC cannon.
Do you think I'm alone?
I'm not saying I'm the ultimate opinion, but I always tried to talk to the guy sitting high in the Herschede-Shank pavilion at Nippert (and the fans like Nippert) as if I were sitting next to him during the game. The compliments I have received over the years and since my departure have usually been, "I liked the way you told it like it was."
Now...circling back to my intention to interview Zach Collaros...I wanted his opinion of the quarterbacks.
The reason being, in my numerous interviews with Ben Mauk, a quarterback that I admire both on and off the field, I asked him who should take his place if he were injured.
He didn't reply with Dustin Grutza, who showed guts and heart and was Mark Dantonio's chosen quarterback. He didn't say Tony Pike, who became a five-year overnight sensation thanks to a gunslinging offense. He didn't say Chazz Anderson who led a fairly restricted life here.
He said, "Zach Collaros!"
I asked him why.
"He reminds me of me," he said.
Good enough. It turned out pretty accurate and prophetic too when Collaros took over for the injured Tony Pike.
If you look at those numbers, Zach was never better and many of you questioned putting Tony back in.
Whether or not Collaros would now tell me his selection or be diplomatic remains to be seen.
But, I would be curious to know.
My quick opinion (which matters little in the film/tape room): Munchie Legaux will be good, but he was thrown into a tough situation early and not given the package to succeed. If you recruited him to be multi-purpose, let's go with it. Don't send him into battle with a butter knife. If you watched the UC/Rutgers telecast with former Florida State and pro quarterback Danny Kanell, you know I wasn't in the minority with those thoughts.
Jordan Luallen is interesting. If you're going more conservative run game, why not "Tebow it" or play Army/Air Force ball? The funny thing is he appears to be exactly what Travis Kelce was at quarterback before he became a tight end.
Brendon Kay is the wildcard.
He is Munchie's height plus 30 pounds. He led his high school team in Michigan to a state title by throwing and running. He came to UC in the same class that brought you Isaiah Pead, JK Schaffer, Derek Wolfe, Dan Giordano, Brandon Mills, Walter Stewart, Travis Kelce and DJ Woods.
In the long run, that's not a bad class of dudes.
I don't know if Mary Kay has a better chance of playing before Brendon Kay or not, but he has a resume similar to that of Tony Pike's--he's lurking about just waiting for a test drive.