University of Cincinnati Associate AD/External Relations and Media Communications Doug Mosley has several other titles that many might not be aware of. As I learned from a recent restaurant review, Mr. Mosley is "The Grand Potentate of Pork", "The Sultan of Smoked Meat", "The Big Kahuna of Brisket", "Ruler of Ribs", and "Swami of Sauce".
There may be others, but that's all we can divulge at this point.
Suffice it to say, as most sports information offices do, the boys find some "good eats" on the road. Back when I traveled more sports-wise, I was always interested in finding the hole-in-the-wall places with big smokers out front that lured you in.
Even now, when I'm out of state, the family knows there's a strong likelihood I'll be stopping if I see an appealing barbecue billboard.
They all have a story. Some have decent food. One that I recall vividly was on a trip to Southern Miss when we were escorted to some backwoods, dirt road in rural Mississippi (not there's much of an urban Mississippi) until we came on a house that didn't have much lighting and had towels serving as drapes in the windows.
If anyone of you have seen the opening scene of the old Steve Martin movie, "The Jerk", then that's what the front porch looked like.
That's what barbecue joints are all about--atmosphere, stories, and carnivorous exploration.
So, this has little to do with football, but if you need a little advice on where to find various forms of chopped or sliced meat cooked over an open fire; Doug's your guy. I defer to anyone who has spent time on an official "barbecue eating team".
OK, things are a little out of sequence here, but I defer to the players in terms of news.
This is something I did with UC defensive back Chris Williams and I did it after briefly interviewing UC's Doug Mosley who heads up the Sports Information efforts. Turns out Mosley's a barbecue expert and I like barbecue and I like interviewing folks I have something in common with (it's my camera and all).
Anyway, Williams patiently waited while I talked about the glories of smoked pork with Mosley and then he chimed in with his two cents worth. In addition to laying a hit on opponents in the secondary, young Williams knows his way around the kitchen and grill.
When he's not in your grill, he's on the grill and at some point, he'd like to open his own.
Here he is, the man that flies, fries and filets....
Well, I made it through two speed traps on I-75 and I-74 to get to Camp Higher Ground in West Harrison, Indiana today.
As strange as it sounds, I really enjoy getting a chance to watch football practice this time of year so I can get a preview of what's to come.
Plus, the hospitality of the dining hall is always top notch and I was able to witness a veteran reporter devour a number of cookies and another threaten to drive out for the evening practice just for the rolls.
The food is top notch.
So, were the kids I talked to today. The one I'll post first here is George Winn, senior running back.
Though we all remember Isaiah Pead having a standout game in the Liberty Bowl against Vanderbilt, the longest run of the game came from No. 32 out of Detroit.
Winn had been a solid back-up all year to Pead and he proved his worth when Pead came out with a helmet issue and Winn answered with a 69-yard touchdown run.
That's called effective substitution!
Winn is now battling for the top job in the backfield with the likes of Ralph David Abernathy, sophomore Jameel Poteat and freshman Tion Green among others. At least early, they'll all likely play.
He's also sporting a pretty respectable beard as you can see from my little video chat:
As you grow older, you do grow somewhat wiser, which is why I often
try to accomplish multiple things at once.
Since my youngest son is attending Mick Cronin's Basketball Camp at UC
this week (and in full disclosure, I paid the going price) I thought I
might as well talk to one of the players that assists in coaching the
Players that are assisting include JaQuon Parker, Ge'Lawn Guyn, Shaq
Thomas and Cheikh Mbodj. In the Olympic spirit of international
relations, I chose Mbodj, the recently slimmed down center out of Dakar,
Q: Tell me how you dropped all of the weight....
A: I just managed to change my diet and stuff. Since my ankle is
healthy, I did some extra running and conditioning. That's how I ended
up dropping 25 pounds.
Q: Do you feel faster?
A: Dropping the weight really helped my ankle and my mobility out. I can
tell I run faster and jump higher.
Q: You guys are going to play fast, right?
A: Yep, yep. We're going to play faster this year. A lot of high motion
stuff. We're going to be like a pretty good fastbreak team.
Q: You're helping the kids out here in the camp. Is that fun for you?
What kind of things did you do when you were small?
A: I really love helping the kids out and being around them. Years ago, I
was one of those kids back in Senegal. I can't imagine how they feel
being around us.
Q: And you didn't play basketball until you were older?
A: I was around 14. I can just imagine--I never had the chance of doing
this (going to camps).
Q: In Senegal, your sport was soccer?
A: In Senegal it was soccer.
Q; What position did you play?
A: I used to play the right back on the defensive side. I was like those
players trying to stop the forwards and stuff. A defensive guy.
Q: Were you tough to get around?
A: It wasn't easy to get around me in soccer.
Q: Did you get to do any of the goal kicks?
A: Yeah, I used to do the free kicks a lot. I was heavy-footed.
Q: Could you kick it to midfield and beyond?
A: Yeah, yeah.
Q: Do you miss playing it at all?
A: Sometimes I just play around with it. I grab a ball and dribble with
my legs and stuff and do some tricks.
Q: Can your teammates do that?
A: My teammates probably can't.
Q: Do you watch the Olympics and keep up with the World Cup and things
A: Yeah, I watch the Olympics, like USA basketball. I watch basketball
most of the time. It's really fun watching it.
Q: Do you watch Olympic soccer also?
A: Olympic soccer, yeah. Senegal was in it, but sadly we lost. We lost
to Mexico the other day.
Q: Are they pretty decent?
A: Yeah, they made it to the quarterfinals so that's pretty decent.
Q: When was the last soccer game that you played?
A: It was a while ago, when I was a kid.
Q: Do they need more scoring?
A: It's really different than basketball. The game is longer. It's 90
minutes long without counting the additional time they can add to it. I
just miss it.
Q: Do you ever see the soccer team here and think about running out
A: I have a couple friends that play soccer over here. They're really
cool people. Sometimes we play around.
Q: In football, could you try to placekick?
A: Football, the only thing I do with them is running. I don't play
Q: Have you ever kicked a football?
A: I never tried. That would be interesting.
Lining up a 6'10" kicker would be interesting. Lining up a 6'10"
lineman to rush the kicker might really be interesting.
(This story will also appear in an upcoming edition of the Tri County Press/cincinnati.com as my day (and night) job entails covering high school and community sports. David Payne is a former Wyoming High School Cowboy.)
WYOMING Like his former University of Cincinnati and 2008 Olympic
teammate Mary Wineberg, David Payne is making another run at a medal.
former Wyoming Cowboy turns 30 in July, but is
training in the Orlando area at Disney's Wide World of Sports where
"Mickey" brings out the youth in all.
"I'm a little bit older,
but I'm more mentally strong," Payne said.
Payne already owns a
proclamation from Cincinnati, the key to Wyoming, UC track records, a
Conference USA (2004) athlete of the year award and a silver in Beijing
(13.17), but still thirsts to drink from the proverbial "fountain of
youth". (Courtesy of iaaf.org--David Payne, far right, wins silver in Beijing)
Four years after his last Olympic taste, he feels his
chances are as good as any.
"I think it's always tough because
you have the top athletes in the U.S.," Payne said. "I don't think it's
any more competitive than it was in '08. I think guys are running really
well right now, but it'll still be the exact same as it was in '08,
which is don't get in my own way and just handle my business."
first preliminary race in Eugene, Oregon, is June 29. The
altitude and conditions are a little different than Florida, but Payne
is a veteran of such changes.
"It's not that bad, but a lot of
people go out about four days before the race so they can get on the
track and get used to the weather," Payne said.
With a medal in
hand already and countless trips over numerous hurdles on and off the
track, Payne still has the swagger of a younger man.
don't really hit their peak 'til about 28 to 30," Payne said. "Every
time you run them (the hurdles) you learn new things and you run better
every year. Some of the best hurdlers didn't finish running 'til they
were 35-36 like Allen Johnson, Renaldo Nehemiah, Gail Devers. We have a
little longer lifespan than the average sprinter."
A lot of
Payne's demeanor and presence comes from his time around UC coach Bill
Schnier. Payne's 2004 marks of 13.42 in the 110 hurdles and 51.16 in the
400 hurdles still stand and are posted on the Gettler Stadium walls.
was a confirmation of what's going on right now," Payne said of his
time as a Bearcat. "I had everything I needed at that place and it
molded me into the person I am now."
Payne's track exploits
started at Wyoming where he ran the 110 hurdles and was in the 4x100 and
4x400 relay. A cautious mother kept him from exploring other athletic
"I played soccer for a short period of time, but I
started to injure my leg so my mom didn't want me to play anymore,"
Payne said. "Who knows what would've happened if I had played football.
They were like, 'Come out for two-a-days and see how you like it. We
could use you for special teams, kickoff returns and wide receiver.' It
was so hot and I couldn't deal with the two-a-days. I just couldn't do
His travels since have extended long beyond Wyoming and
Pendery Avenue and plans to continue as long as he can.
been to like 30 countries more than once," Payne said. "I've been to
Rome like four times, Paris four times, Japan three times, I can't even
name a lot of the countries I've been to more than once. It's a greaty
way to get around the world and I'm very blessed to be more intelligent
internationally since I've been running track."
All of those
places are a long way from Tri-County and from his training digs in
Florida. Still, the former co-feature of the UC Homecoming parade (with
Mary Wineberg) and Oktoberfest Chicken Dance leader (again with
Wineberg) looks forward to a triumphant return to the Queen City.
love Cincinnati," Payne said. "Hopefully, when I do come home, I'll be
bringing back another medal."
I caught up with UC gold medal winner Mary Wineberg at the Gettler Stadium track June 12 before a family training session. With husband and coach, Chris and daughter, Brooklyn, Wineberg took to the track in the midday sun to work on shaving a second off of her 400 meter time.
In 2008, Mary Wineberg qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the 400 and was the opening leg of the women's gold-medal winning 4x400 relay. Now a mother, she hopes to punch her ticket to London at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Here's a clip with the Queen of UC track around lunch time. Me? I took my kids to Five Guys after such a grueling interview....
From the Twitterverse, where I try to keep updated on anything from politics, medical research, happy "spin" messages (lot of those), music and sports, I found an interesting piece of news recently.
Former UC receiver Armon Binns, who will forever be known as the guy with "The Catch" against Pitt on a snowy December day, is receiving his degree.
While that shouldn't be compared to climbing Mt. Everest, as scholarship athletes should get their degrees in my opinion, it is still an accomplishment. Particularly so because Binns has been gone from UC for well over a year.
After being picked up by the Jaguars, he eventually made it to the Bengals as a free agent and their practice squad. At the end of the season, he was activated, but not used.
From all accounts, he's been one of the most improved receivers the Bengals have. God bless Mohamed Sanu, but given more than two years (which was all Binns really played of note) with similar focus that Rutgers had on Sanu, Binns might have been a draft pick instead of an undrafted free agent.
NFL folks typically don't call me, but I've seen more of Binns and more players than most and I think he can play.
Maybe someone should ask Dave Wannstedt....
Anyway, I got Jack Brennan of the Bengals to let me past Checkpoint Charlie at Paul Brown Stadium recently and talked to Armon about his upcoming diploma.
While it wasn't the record number of six from 2009, or even the five that was selected in 1997, the four Bearcats chosen in the NFL draft should've caused broad smiles among UC football fans.
UC hasn't had a No. 1 pick since Bob Bell in 1971 and Greg Cook in 1969 before that, but two second-round picks is very impressive.
If you spent the recent days under a rock or in quarantine, Derek Wolfe was chosen in the second round by the Broncos and Isaiah Pead in round two by the Rams. Both were standout Bearcats. Pead was more noticeable by his explosive runs, but Wolfe was a constant thorn in the side of opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks. (Derek Wolfe on the prowl)
To put getting drafted in round two in perspective, your most recent round two picks from UC were Alex Gordon, Artrell Hawkins and Connor Barwin. All three had (or in Barwin's case) or are having extensive NFL careers.
In round three, defensive lineman John Hughes went to the Browns. Hughes was a consistent performer, but may have been the most quiet third-round pick ever around here.
That's quiet, as in workmanlike. While Hughes might not have had the publicity of other UC players, rest assured the opposition knew where he was.
Even being drafted in round three is pretty significant. Your recent UC round three picks were Antwan Peek and Brad Jackson. Again, if you look up their NFL resumes, they had respectable NFL careers. In Jackson's case, he sports a Super Bowl ring.
Finally, in round four, the Super Bowl champion Giants picked tight end Adrien Robinson. Robinson had some incredible plays at UC, but will be getting his bonus money based on his unique build and the great word, "potential".
Robinson's combination of speed, power and wingspan is what pro and college coaches covet. While he actually caught significantly more passes, he reminds me of one-time UC basketball player, turned NFL tight end Rod Monroe. Their physiques are similar.
In Monroe's case, he bounced around a few teams and made it to a Super Bowl with the Falcons.
Of course, Wolfe, Pead, Hughes and Robinson will all have to make it on their own merit, but the odds and probability of success appear to be pretty good.
Beyond the four Bearcats picked, I think JK Schaffer is a sleeper for somebody that bothers to look at UC video and notices No. 37 seemingly around every play. Schaffer has signed with the Jaguars.
And, call me crazy (there's a long line who have), but I think in the right situation Zach Collaros can have pro success. He'll get knocked for some of the same reasons every other so-called "small" quarterback does, but with healthy with a solid line and good receivers, Collaros can heave it.
At UC's Pro Day, he zinged bullets to current Bengals Armon Binns and Vidal Hazelton. He also has great play-making ability. In the NFL, the trend is the cookie-cutter 6-5 dude who stands back and throws, but there's been a long history of success with guys named Brees, Tarkenton, etc. that weren't necessarily giants, but made giant plays.
Naturally, there's no guaranteed accuracy in any of my prognostications, other than my own two eyes and ears that have witnessed Bearcat football and NFL drafts up closer than most for better than 20 years.
Agree or disagree, you have to admit, it's kind of fun to watch ESPN and hear the likes of Chris Berman and Jon Gruden speak of your school in such glowing terms.
Plus, it's a chance to buy more NFL jerseys with your UC favorites' names on them.
Bearcat Bowl VI was washed out April 14, but UC did get their final workout in at the Sheakley bubble in front of various members of the Bearcat football family, parents, etc.
Rather than sit high underneath one of the pavilions at Nippert, those that braved the elements enjoyed the climate-controlled bubble that has been kept open for Butch Jones this spring. (Originally, the bubble was to come down at the end of February.)
Clearly, the indoor facility has proven its worth time and time again.
Another asset that has proven reliable is No. 4, Maalik Bomar. With the departure of JK Schaffer due to graduation, Bomar will lead UC's linebacking corps.
Since his arrival on campus, Bomar has put over 40 pounds of muscle. Video evidence is forthcoming....
Bearcat Bowl VI is Saturday at Nippert Stadium. In recent years, stars have developed and many Bearcats have shined.
One that interestingly has excelled each spring is former St. Xavier Bomber Danny Milligan. Unfortunately, his spring success hasn't always translated to fall playing time, although he's seen more and more action each year.
"The spring game has been Danny's game," coach Butch Jones admitted. "He's a senior and it's time for him to step up. The big thing with Danny is overall consistency on a day-to-day basis."
While Bill Koch of the Enquirer has already delved into this subject, many have often wondered what it would take for Milligan to experience some level of success at UC after being "Mr. Everything" at St. Xavier.