The Bearcats announced Monday morning they will play the 2014 season at Paul Brown Stadium while Nippert Stadium undergoes renovations. Some logistical details still need to be worked out, but the two sides agreed to a deal to make it happen.
No, the Bearcats didn't have many other options, but this serves as the latest example of the relationship improving between these two sides. That's not just as observation regarding this deal. There have now been a series of events where the two have done things to help out there other.
The Bengals allowed the Bearcats to come practice down at the stadium in the spring while Marvin Lewis and Tommy Tuberville have developed a relationship. On the flip side, the Bearcats bubble has become the bad weather home of the Bengals.
These two sides haven't always been able to work out deals or act as the best of friends, but being able to come up with a deal that works for all involved in this situation is a great sign and one that will benefit all the UC fans. The bright side of games at PBS were the easy in, easy out, comfortable experience provided by the facility. For one year, it makes for the perfect home and eases the renovation transition.
Let's eat ...
--- The first play of the first scrimmage of the season opened up
with what I believe will be a staple of this year's team. I have been talking about Brendon Kay's deep ball capabilities all offseason and he tossed a 75-yard bomb to Chris Moore to get the 2013 action going.
Who will be the most consistent deep threat is yet to be seen, but Kay's shown a remarkable ability to drop deep passes perfectly.
Eddie Gran had this to say about Kay taking ownership of the team:
"He's done a great job. He takes it personal and everything he does is about this team. I think the good part is that all the quarterbacks have done that. They are all leading in their own way. It's been neat to see and they are all competing. That's really good especially at that position. If you don't have that you don't have a chance."
--- Speaking of competition at QB, continue to keep an eye on Bennie Coney, who threw four touchdowns working with the third team.
--- Randomness ...
--- Which only leads us to a little Wu-Tang Monday. Have a great one.
Is there a statute of limitations on the exclusive
use of a nickname?
In the 1940's Army won three national championships
thanks to Heisman Trophy winners Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis who were known
as "Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside." Now
that 67 years have passed since their last college game, that nickname could be
revived for pair of junior college running backs looking to make an immediate
impact at Cincinnati.
Hosey (pronounced like Jose) Williams is "Mr. Inside"
- a 5'9" 199 pound battering ram who rushed for 1,269 yards and 14 TD on 177
carries (7.2 ypc) for ASA College in New York (see video here).
"I think Hosey is a Rudi Johnson-type," said Tommy
Tuberville who coached Johnson at Auburn.
"He's got big, strong legs and a low center of gravity."
"I feel like I'm an all-around back," said
Williams. "I can run through you and I
can run by you."
Rod Moore is "Mr. Outside" - a 5'10, 176 pound
jitterbug who was ranked as the number one junior college running back by 247Sports.com
after rushing for 902 yards and 11 TD on 147 carries (6.1) for East Mississippi
"What you see with Rod is his quickness," said
offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. "There
was a play today (at practice) where he hit the hole and you saw a burst. That's what you're looking for is a guy like
that with really good speed. I've been
excited about him."
"I try to play fast and show my speed," said
Moore. "Mostly I like to get out on the
edge, but I can run between the tackles when they need me to. It I get to the second level, it's most
likely going to be a big gain."
Williams and Moore say they chose Cincinnati largely
because of the coaching staff. When Tuberville
and Gran worked together at Auburn, they sent eight running backs to the NFL
including Ronnie Brown, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Brandon Jacobs, Heath
Evans, Kenny Irons, and the previously mentioned Johnson.
"(Coach Tuberville) is a laid-back, straight-forward
person," said Williams. "He lets his
coaches coach and does a great job. And
Coach Gran is an excellent coach. He's
big on all of the little details being perfect."
"I was committed to Texas Tech, but I wanted to
follow this coaching staff," said Moore.
"They recruited me first and I feel like this is going to be a great fit
for me. All I have to do is listen and
they'll take me where I want to go."
Following the departure of leading rusher George Winn,
the Cincinnati coaches are counting on the JUCO duo and walk-on Anthony King to
provided needed depth to a running back group led by Ralph David Abernathy IV
and Tion Green.
"Anthony King has looked really good," said
Gran. "I've been surprised and excited
for him because he's worked his tail off.
In all of the cut-ups that we watched in the spring, he keeps showing
up. I'm going to give him some reps with
the ones this camp and give him a shot."
Williams and Moore are also sure to get plenty of
reps at Camp Higher Ground, but their running ability is not the only factor in
determining which of the two gets the most playing time.
"It's whoever can learn the offense the quickest and
be durable," said Tuberville. "Both of
them can run the ball, but one thing that they both have to learn in this
offense is protecting the quarterback.
If you can't protect the quarterback, I'm not going to have you in there
because a lot of times we have to check off and he has to pick up a linebacker
or an end. We can't afford any missed
assignments. We probably run 12 to 15
protections per game and they change every week. Things change very quickly at the line of
scrimmage - who they block, if they block, of if they go out for a pass."
Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside say they're ready for the
"I feel like everything is going extremely well,"
said Williams. "It's basically about how
I apply myself. If I study the playbook
like I'm supposed to, I don't think it's going to be a problem."
"It's the most talent that I've seen in a backfield
in a long time," said Moore. "We're
going to have a little rotation and it's going to work out great. I'm just trying to be a part of it and help
us win some games."
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The days of one back lugging 35 carries for 200 yards are gone with along with standard definition TVs and Big East football. In the new age of college football utilizing depth to endure 13 games of the grind falls closer to necessity than a want for coaches. That's especially true for new coach Tommy Tuberville and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.
Nobody on staff understands the concept better than Gran, a running backs coach by trade over his 26 years. When assessing a Bearcats team possessing backs with styles as different as the numbers on their back.
The diminutive, explosive Ralph David Abernathy IV comes offset by the powerful frame of Tion Green. Junior College transfer Hosey Williams brings a burst along with great hands out of the backfield. Fellow JuCo Hosey Williams comes as the compact bowling ball at 5-foot-9 and 199 pounds. Darkhorse Anthony King (222 pounds) brings size as the biggest of the five RBs taking reps.
As plans are devised to utilize RDA without forcing him to withstand a beating 13 times a year, what type of rotation wheels out against Purdue will be decided over the next three weeks at Higher Ground.
In the past Gran's best seasons came while utilizing a rotation of running backs. Last season at Florida State he had three RBs with between 91 and 111 carries. Much of that came because of Chris Thompson tearing his ACL midseason.
|FSU RB 2012||Carries||Yards||TD|
The rotations worked with FSU posting a Top 25 rushing offense and Top 20 overall offense. Back in 2004, working with Tuberville during Auburn's perfect season, the rotation proved even more effective with the combination of Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, who both went in the Top 5 of the NFL Draft.
|Auburn RB 2004||Carries||Yards||TD|
Expect at least two running backs to have at least 100 carries this season, with one of them being RDAIV, but Gran remains flexible to whatever works best for the offense as the season progresses.
"If a guy does have his rhythm and we are going, we go," Gran said. "I make sure if he's got the hot hand, go, but at the same time if something is not happening, I will get somebody else in there. ... I don't mind playing two, though, I don't mind playing three. If they are all going to be productive I have no problem with that. It's a long season."
How many and who of the five competing end up earning those carries began three days ago. Pressure for the junior college transfers will be on how fast they pick up the system. For everyone else, Gran will be watching closely and piecing together the puzzle of how their skill set can fit into effective personnel groups.
"What you got to find out
when we are tackling, whose breaking tackles? Whose getting the YAC
yards and see from there where they fit in and what they do," Gran said.
Entering Day 3 of Camp Tubs as the team still practices on campus before moving to Higher Ground on Friday. The team has been moving between the Sheakley Athletics Complex and the newly turfed Nippert Stadium and will do so again today.
Let's eat ...
Those are the moments why you put in the extra work, the long hours and spend every waking minute working on your game. You can't replicate that feeling, the moment anywhere else in sports.
Harrison's career experienced highs and lows but he's rising along with the Jolly Roger right now. He's been playing mostly for Triple-A Indianapolis and some for the big-league club, but this was his signature moment. He's slugging better than he has any year in his career (.500) and hitting for better than his career average (.265 while a small sample size of 37 PA).
He looks harder and harder to send back to Indy the more time he gets with the Pirates, who have the best record in baseball.
Next, I want to see a helmet cam on Video Shane as he cuts one of his masterpiece videos he's known for. That will be true behind-the-scenes magic.
--- When the Mannings wear bronzer, I watch. These two are the gift that keeps on giving.
Congratulations. Football has finally arrived. We can stop speculating on speculation and report on the media reporting on the media reporting on the media reporting on the NCAA. What a fantastic day.
Let's talk UC football.
So, today marks the first camp practice of the Tommy Tuberville era and with an influx of new players and last year's holdovers, battles begin everywhere today. While most everyone will be fighting for playing time, these are three of the most important battles to watch as UC barrels toward Aug. 31 against Purdue.
How should you keep up with those battles? Well, of course, keep it locked to GoBearcats.com for updates from myself, Dan Hoard and video from Tommy G and the crew about all the happenings in Clifton and Higher Ground.
Battle 1: Wide Receiver
Possible Starters: Anthony McClung (Sr.), Chris Moore (Soph.), Alex Chisum (Jr.)
In the mix: Pretty much everyone else, Jeremy Graves (Soph.), Max Morrison (Soph.), Shakim Alonso (RS Fr.), Johnny Holton (JC transfer), among many others.
Analysis: The position generally is stacked but Tommy Tuberville loves to rotate deep at every position. A cast will be auditioning every day for the right to play outside starter Anthony McClung in the slot. He's only definitive starter at this point and will be counted on to help carry the offense. But he needs help. Bearcats fans caught a glimpse of what Chisum could do in 2011 but he endured a sophomore slump last season. If he can take the next step he adds a dangerous element because of his size and body control. Coaches love the blazing speed of Johnny Holton. Chris Moore impressed in the spring and enjoyed pockets of success last. The list goes on and coaches will be evaluating every snap. Anybody listed as a WR in camp has a shot to line up outside on the first play against Purdue.
Battle 2: Cornerback
Possible starters: Deven Drane (Sr.), Trenier Orr (Jr.)
In the mix: Howard Wilder (JC transfer), Leviticus Payne (Soph.), among a host of young players.
Analysis: Drane will be the starting corner and the senior already has received love from NFL scouts, a big year gives him next level potential. Beyond him, an open contest should be fun to observe. Orr always was a Butch Jones favorite and showed well in the spring. Tuberville eyes depth at the position and plucked the junior college ranks to provide it, Howard Wilder, a transfer from Pierce College will attempt to show his game translates to FBS. Sophomore Leviticus Payne played sparingly as a freshman but reported increased comfort and confidence during spring ball. In all, six other freshmen are listed as either CBs or DBs. It will be a wild chase to see who can show enough to enter the rotation.
3) Running Back
Possible Starter: Ralph David Abernathy IV
In the mix: Tion Green (Soph.), Hosey Williams (JC transfer), Rodriguez Moore (JC transfer), Deionte Buckley (Soph.), Anthony King (Sr.)
Analysis: The plan to utilize Abernathy IV will go a long way to deciding the efficiency of this offense. Expect multiple facets but don't expect 20 carries in the I-formation. Green, Moore, Buckley and Williams will share carries and see who proves most effective. Often hitting is limited in training camp but Tuberville won't shy away because he must find out who to play thunder to RDAIV lightning. He's been a big believer in rotating the backs since his days at Auburn most notably rotating Kenny Irons, Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. Backs take a pounding, especially in his pro style system, and he'd love to find two to match with RDA.
For a new conference looking to build credibility, Cincinnati's hiring of two-time SEC coach of the year Tommy Tuberville was well-received news in the league office.
"I was thrilled when I heard about it - absolutely thrilled for a couple of reasons," said American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco. "Number one, he's a great coach and you can't argue with his record. But he's also a great guy. I've known Tommy for a long time - he's understated, he's highly effective, and he's a classy person.
"It signals that Cincinnati is going to continue to move forward. They've always hired good coaches whether it's Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly, or Butch Jones - now you get Tommy Tuberville and you may have even taken it to a new level because I don't know that anybody had the record that he has."
Tuberville's record is 130-77 including 7-3 in bowl games. He led Auburn to at least one victory against an AP Top-10 school in seven consecutive seasons and was named the National Coach of the Year in 2004 when he led the Tigers to a 13-0 season.
With a glittering resume in meat grinder conferences like the SEC and Big 12, Tuberville has heard a recurring question since accepting the head coaching job at UC roughly eight months ago.
"A lot of people have asked me, 'Why Cincinnati?'" said Tuberville. "My answer is, 'Why not?' Heck, this is as winning of a program as anybody in the country. We have a good established base, but we have a lot of room for improvement."
Tuberville's track record made him one of the most sought-after interviews at The American media days this week in Newport, RI. In the league's golf outing on Monday, he was put him in a group with Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, and with several other national writers in attendance, Tuberville had an opportunity to sell his vision for UC football and its new conference.
"We don't have to sell Cincinnati," said Tuberville. "I'll tell you, over the last six or seven years, Cincinnati has been the up-and-coming team in college football. When you win 10 games as many times as Cincinnati has done the last few years and gone to bowl games and two BCS games - you don't have to sell that. What we have to sell is the conference. We have to get this conference going. We have new teams coming in, we have to talk well of each other, we've got to play good football, and we've got to put a good product on the field.
"Cincinnati is going to survive, but we want this conference to be one of the better conferences in the country and everybody is going to have to pitch in."
The American currently includes a Louisville program that won the national championship in men's basketball, was runner-up in women's basketball, and won the Sugar Bowl in football. In the preseason college football coaches' poll released on Thursday, Louisville was ranked ninth.
But the Cardinals will leave the American for the ACC at the end of the year. Is the league counting on Cincinnati to be its dominant program moving forward?
"I don't think there's any doubt that one of our flagship programs will be Cincinnati," Aresco told me. "I think the Bearcats have a really bright future. They've also had a great record of success in our conference so you have to already put them in the top echelon, and Tommy Tuberville is another in a long line of great coaches at Cincinnati. He just has an outstanding resume and I know he is going to have great success there. I think Cincinnati is going to be a very important school for us - I don't think there is any doubt about it.
"Whit (Babcock) is really one of our most able athletic directors, and Santa Ono is a visionary president who wants to be good in athletics. He understands athletics but he also understands the mission of the university."
Tuberville's mission is to build on the momentum generated by the coaches that preceded him.
"We've had several coaches at Cincinnati that have really gotten the program on the track - but sort of on a jog," Tommy told me. "I need to get it going on a run."
That's right, the official kickoff of the football season happened last night. I wont' use this space to complain about how I've never actually taken part in this unique standard of UC's football conference, rather, to rejoice its arrival.
We are now less than one week from the first Bearcats practice (Aug. 5) and just over a month from the opening game against Purdue (Aug. 31). We can stop talking about conference juggling and Ryan Braun's urine samples.
The Bearcats sent Brendon Kay, Austen Bujnoch, Jordan Stepp and Greg Blair.
Our sterling media team sent Dan Hoard and Video Shane to document the festivities.
Unfortunately not lobster, but let's eat ...
--- The media poll came out with UC slotting second behind Louisville, the Bearcats were the only team besides the Cardinals to receive a first-place vote, they had two.
|Team (1st votes)||Points|
Not many surprises, most anticipated Louisville first with UC and Rutgers the top contenders to dethrone them. Of course, I'll give the same speech here I do every year at this time. Pay as little attention to these polls as possible. How many years when the Bearcats won four outright or shared titles were they ranked first in the preseason? None.
|Year||UC Poll Pick|
All that said, Memphis will be terrible. Believe that.
--- Dan spoke with Brendon about all things clambake and anticipation of today's Media Day questions. DH also points out Kay participated in the Manning passing academy this offseason. It's a collection of the top 30 QBs around the country. Amazing how much life has changed for Kay in less than a year. More than halfway through last season he was a backup quarterback riding out his senior year seemingly into a frustrating obscurity. Now, he's throwing with the top QBs in the country and being instructed by the Mannings.
Perhaps we've come across time to start thinking about Kay not as much as in a battle within his own team, but a battle among quarterbacks nationally. Unfair? Maybe.
How many returning quarterbacks reeled off four of five games to close last season with at least 61 percent completion, at least 240 yards per, 10 touchdowns and two or less interceptions?
- Tajh Boyd, Clemson? No. Seven picks.
- Teddy Bridgewater? No, tossed one pick in each of his last four games.
- Aaron Murray? No. Twice completion percentage less than 55 percent
- Marcus Mariota, Oregon? No. Twice under 175 and twice less than 57 percent.
- Brett Hundley, UCLA? No. Twice under 52 percent, three picks.
- AJ McCarron, Bama? No. Three picks, twice under 175 yards.
- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M? Almost. Had three picks in last five games.
Debate however you'd like about difficulty of opponent or if stat-twisting is going on, we only have five games to weigh how Kay played and his numbers compared with the best in the country and his team only lost one game.
--- Because I love the word extrapolate and the calculator app on my phone, let's extrapolate Kay's numbers out over the course of a 13-game season.
Totals: 226 of 360 (63 percent), 3,375 yards, 26 touchdowns, 5 interceptions.
Who can claim hitting all those watermarks last year?
Colby Cameron (La. Tech). That's it.
Those numbers are rather unfair, particularly the five interceptions but you get what I am getting at here? In a game where the quality of your quarterback relates directly proportional to your success the Bearcats could have one of the best around.
--- Want to hear what Commish
Mike Aresco said Tuesday morning. Here you go.
Highlights worth earmarking: If the power five plans on attempting to break off from the rest of football, he fully expects The American to be a part of that.
"Whatever the highest level of football is, we expect to be a part of it."
--- Randomness ...
--- One of my favorite movie
scenes is from Barbershop when the women busts up a car with a baseball bat thinking its her cheating boyfriend's, only to be some old man getting a lined up for a cut. She just takes off running when she realizes. This isn't quite that
, but the whatever this dude did his lady wasn't real fond of it.
--- Going with The Who today and I shouldn't need a reason why.
On Monday morning before leaving for American
Football Media Days in Newport, RI, I joked on Twitter that I would not be
asking any questions about the topic that dominated the recent SEC Media Days.
That was before
I learned that UC quarterback Brendon Kay not only attended the Manning Passing
Academy, but he and roommate Jeff Driskel (Florida Gators) were suitemates with
Manziel and A.J. McCarron.
"I got along well with all of those guys - they're
all great guys," Kay told me. "Some
stuff happened while we were down there that got most of the media (attention) about
While Brendon was not about to share any TMZ-worthy
material about Johnny Football, he was happy to discuss his trip to the Manning
invited at some point during spring ball," said Kay. "Coach Tuberville brought it up to me and
that week Archie Manning called. It was
"Overall, it was an incredible experience to meet
all of those NFL guys, the NFL Network guys, and the draft guys. There were probably 30 of the top quarterbacks
down there from all over the country. I was
a sponge when I was down there and tried to soak up as much knowledge as I
could from Peyton, Eli, and all of the NFL guys that were down there. It helped me this summer seeing how they did
their workouts and what they did with their receivers. I tried to use the same stuff when I got back
Aside from travel costs, expenses are taken care of
for the college quarterbacks and being invited provided a big boost to the 6th-year senior.
"It helps your confidence to go out and throw with
those guys and see that I can throw with any of the guys around the country,"
said Kay. "It's not that I needed any
extra confidence or anything, but it was definitely a confidence booster and
showed that my hard work is paying off."
This week, Brendon joined teammates Greg Blair,
Austen Bujnoch, and Jordan Stepp in representing the Bearcats at the American
Kickoff event in Rhode Island. Kay's
inclusion in the UC contingent provided the latest proof that he's the number
one quarterback going into UC's training camp.
But that's not how he's treating it.
"I'm just going to go out and try to get better
every day," Brendon told me. "Competition
is a good thing - it pushes me every day.
It never lets me settle and get too comfortable which is good. It's what I'm used to and allows me to keep
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Though players disappear from the radar of UC basketball fans upon graduating, the coaching of those who continue their basketball careers overseas only begins for Mick Cronin.
CINCINNATI -- Yancy Gates laughs and rolls his eyes simultaneously. All at the mere mention of the multitude of important decisions he needed to make in the months following the conclusion of his UC career and beginning of his professional journey.
The moment Ohio State put the finishing touches on his final NCAA tournament run in March of 2012, Gates faced an uncertain future.
Where should he play? Should the NBA be an option? Is riding the bench worth being in the league? What International leagues present the best opportunities? Do any offer health insurance? Who should be his agent? What will he do with an influx of income? When will he see his daughter and family? How must he alter his game for the next level?
Gates spent his life on the streets of hometown Cincinnati, as recognized as comfortable and caretaken. Eventually last year, he landed in Lithuania, only recognized by teammates and his work Visa. Decisions needed to be made and executed while processing a language out of the Rosetta Stone post-graduate program and culture adjustment only a sitcom writer could love.
Enduring the process alone would come as easy as personally calculating the currency conversion from American dollars to Lithuanian litas.
"You try to talk to a lot of different people," said Gates, who spent this summer in the Puerto Rico league. "It's a lot different than being in college where your house and room is paid for, all that stuff so, you got to be more responsible. Just because you're are overseas, I have a daughter. That doesn't take away from the responsibilities you have at home. You just try to stay focused and be able to budget all of it on an even level. You try to use all your sources."
That's where Mick Cronin enters the equation. He developed Gates in order to win 89 games during four years for UC. In Cronin's mind, though, with Gates and every other product of the Bearcats program, after the final game his coaching just begins.
"We got a lot of things to do with those guys," Cronin said. "Stuff we do with guys all the time. There are things people don't realize with these guys, they are graduated, their health insurance is gone. If you are getting it through the university or with your parents. There are things we talk about with these guys all the time are important. A lot of young people don't understand how important that is."
Little time exists for lag. Upon leaving school, Cronin immediately helps them find agents they can trust - as much as that is attainable. If the NBA doesn't come calling, which will be the case for 99 percent of college basketball players, a trusted guide through often rocky overseas waters stands essential.
Just ask John Williamson. He's played in eight different countries since graduating from UC in 2008. Williamson averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds during his two seasons as a JuCo transfer early in Cronin's rebuilding process.
Taking on a career overseas he endured a medical staff in Venezuela that incorrectly diagnosed what turned out to be a broken collarbone, nearly forcing career-threatening damage had he not decided to bolt the league after one game.
Every offseason he's forced to weigh options between leagues covering the globe, all while being discounted as as series of injuries stunted his progress. Cronin set Williamson up with an agent he could trust and even a financial planner to properly save his money. He sent out word to international coaches assisting Williamson finding teams.
Williamson leaned on both his biological family and UC family to make it through.
"You have to look at it as I am going to live abroad, going overseas for this x-amount of months and I am not going to see my family and stuff like that," Williamson said. "There's more of a mental state. You got to have that passion and have good people around you like Mick Cronin."
This past season he averaged 15.4 points and 5.6 rebounds playing in France. He's currently undecided if he will rejoin that team or move elsewhere as one of the top American free agents in the league.
He's not surprised by all the assistance Cronin and his staff offered once he couldn't help them win games anymore, that generosity drew him to UC in the first place.
"It's not a surprise because of how Mick is," Williamson said. "Even former players before us, I'd see how he treated them when I was here. If they needed anything as far as tickets or jobs or anything, he'll help you as much as he can. That's why I have no doubt if I needed anything as far as playing ball, a phone call to Mick and I'm sure he'd do the best he can to help me out. It's always good to have the relationship and the people I met over the years in Cincinnati is all good people, so it's a blessing."
Williamson thrives as a veteran of the European game and still hoping to work out for NBA scouts when given the opportunity. He hears from coaches, teammates and scouts repeatedly than his game can translate to the league. If that opportunity comes, he'll be grateful. If not, well, playing in Europe has been a different dream come true in itself.
Meanwhile, Gates still chases his dreams. He could have taken a camp tryout with the Boston Celtics last year, but passed so he could spend time playing instead of sitting. He hopes a few years in Europe will lead to a shot in the NBA. Where his path forks next remains to be determined. He only knows when the decisions pile up again, he knows what number to call.
"Anything I'd asked (the UC coaching staff) before they were willing to help me with," he said. "I could call any guy on the coaching staff, any trainer, anyone would help me even now still. I keep in contact with all of them."
I want to hear from you! Shoot me any comments, questions or suggestions about anything surrounding UC athletics to email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter @pauldehnerjr.
The Tommy Tuberville era at Cincinnati is about to
begin. The Bearcats check-in for training
camp on Sunday, August 4 and hold their first practice the
following day. Fans can meet the players
and get autographs at the annual "Meet the Team" event at Kings Island on
Sunday, August 18.
I had the opportunity to interview Coach Tuberville
this week about some key topics going into camp:
has it that you were hanging out with the big stars at the ESPYS last week?
Every year I play in the V
Foundation Golf Classic to raise money to fight cancer. I've been going for many years. Sometimes I go to the ESPYS along with it,
but this year I didn't have time so I just played in the golf tournament to help
them raise money and then I flew back. I
played with actor Chris Tucker, and Bruce Jenner played right in front of
us. You get to meet a lot of people at
that tournament, but I'm always excited to get back home and get ready for the
been coaching for a long time, but when you're in your first year at a program
is training camp more challenging?
It's more challenging because we're still finding
out about our players and they're finding out about us. But I'm excited about our off-season. They've just gone through a very tough summer
workout program and I think we're in very good physical shape. They've gotten stronger and you're always
excited to get them back on the field to see where we've come since spring
practice in terms of their physical and mental abilities.
the quarterback job Brendon Kay's to lose at training camp?
Yes, because he had a very good spring and I thought
that Munchie (Legaux) hit the wall in about the 10th or 11th practice. The guy that really played
well and made a lot of headway was Bennie Coney. Bennie has a lot of talent - he can run, he
can throw, and do all of those things.
So we're going to have some options.
I tell you, it's going to be a battle.
I've told Brendon that we're going to start him out with the first
group, but anything can happen. We'll
have a couple of scrimmages and a lot of practices and remember, your
quarterback not only runs the offense - he's the leader of your entire
team. Brendon is probably a little bit
ahead, but that can change very quickly in two-a-days.
ran into a member of your staff this week who told me that a few of the junior
college additions are going to make an immediate impact this year. Can you tell us about a few of those guys?
We have on campus running backs Rod Moore and Hosea
Williams who will battle it out with Tion Green and Ralph Abernathy. Going into the season, you have got to have
two or three running backs that you can count on, so I think there is going to
be a lot of competition there. Jerrell Jordan
is a junior college defensive end that came in in January and broke his foot -
the fifth metatarsal - and had a screw put in it so he didn't get a lot of
practice time. He's in much better shape,
and Terrell Hartsfield is another junior college defensive end that has been on
campus for about two months and I think he is really going to help us. Those guys are going to be great additions to
our football team mentally and physically.
Then we have Howard Wilder, a junior college cornerback, that I really
think is going to help this team get better.
In those areas we need some help, and I think they're going to provide
it for us going into the opening game.
cornerback your biggest concern?
We have a lot of concerns. Every football team has concerns about
experience and depth, but I would say right now that it's the cornerback
position just because of depth. I think
we have some guys that can play, but you have to have six to eight guys on your
team, and we're going to have to count on a couple of high school players to
come in and give us some help, along with junior college players like Howard
Wilder. So corner has been a concern
since we got here. I think we've helped
ourselves in recruiting, but now we have to get them in shape and get them
ready to play mentally.
have read and heard about your Australian rugby player Lindsay Crook. Is he likely to redshirt in year one to learn
I think that's a big question mark. I know he's a good athlete and he can really
run. He had a setback - we had to scope
his knee about a month ago because he had some loose cartilage in there that
was giving him some pain. So we decided
to go ahead and clean that up. He was
down for about three weeks - he's just now started running again. But I think he'll be able to help us
some. I'm not sure what position or it
might just be on special teams, but you've got to remember that he's not your average
high school player. He'll be 21 years
old this year. He's got a lot to learn
about what we do and how we do it, but I think that he can pick it up. We'll have to see how far he can come in the
next few weeks. I'm not going to play
him just to play him, but I think he has the ability to help the team this
been the most pleasant surprise about the UC program since you arrived?
The enthusiasm of the players and the confidence
that they have. The thing about the UC
football program over the last six or seven years - it's probably been one of
the biggest surprises nationwide. For a
long time, UC was one of the doormats of college football, but with the
emergence of winning like UC has won over the past few years - every team has
some ups and downs - but they've had some consistency. They've been to two BCS Bowl games, and most
schools across the country haven't been to one.
I think the confidence that these players have in what they can do and
how they can do it gives us an edge. I'm
not here to change a whole lot; I just want to keep the ship going in the right
begin your tenure here in The American - the new American Athletic Conference. As a head coach, would you rather be in a
league where you potentially could dominate or a league like the Big 12 with
traditional powers like Oklahoma and Texas?
I think there's a fine line there. Everybody wants to win games and I think that's
a big question mark for where you want to be.
But for us to have an opportunity to win national championships,
something is eventually going to have to happen for us to get into the (power
five conferences). But I like the
conference we're in. I like the teams
that we're playing and I think we can compete and be one of the stronger teams
in the league year in and year out. That's
how we're going to treat it. We're going
to recruit harder every year, and we're going to try to beat whoever is on our
schedule. We really don't have control
over that right now, so we're just going to have to wait and see what happens.
I'd love to hear from you at Dan.Hoard@Bengals.nfl.net
If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard
I'm on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dan.hoard.1
And I haven't posted a photo of the handsome lad in
quite some time. Here is Sam getting
ready for a feast on a recent family vacation to Maine.