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Not sweating conference departures

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That UC and Louisville played in the Big East championship game should not go 
unnoticed.

Big-East-logo.jpg
Back when Virginia Tech, Boston College and the Miami Hurricanes left the Big 
East, the conference was all but declared dead for the football losses and
inviting the "non-easterners" was frowned upon by those not wanting to invite
the best of Conference USA into the executive washroom.

The reality is that it strengthened an already strong basketball conference .

The continued rivalry of UC and Louisville is as good as ever as indicated by
their presence in the grand finale at Madison Square Garden. Furthermore,
Marquette was viewed as top 25 threat all season long as they've continued their
tradition, South Florida sports the league coach of the year and DePaul won't be
any more down than any of the current Big East "also rans".

If you watched this year's tournament, the Big East games are as exciting as
ever. Other than the obvious allure of easy money, it's still a mystery to me
why Syracuse would leave the Garden and their New York fans for the Greensboro
Coliseum and the ACC. Ditto for non-factor Pitt this year.

As for West Virginia, I doubt the "Let's go Mountaineers!" cheer will be as loud
in Stillwater, Oklahoma or Lawrence, Kansas.

To all departing schools I say, "Be careful what you wish for."

In football, UC and Louisville have more than held their own with both making
BCS bowl games and representing the league as proudly as the departed. South
Florida has also made it as high as No. 2 in the top 25 and the Bulls have
beaten national powers (ask Brian Kelly).

Now, the guys that get paid to spout off think the league is down or isn't
deserving of multiple NCAA bids or shouldn't get a BCS game.

My guess is that some self-appointed expert made those same under-researched
comments years ago. Again, the loudest person isn't always the right one. Those
that have used their two ears and two eyes more than their one mouth are usually
on target.

The new entries to the Big East will eventually prove themselves. Memphis was
good under John Calipari and has a good coach in Josh Pastner. They have great
talent and Pastner was schooled under Lute Olson. I think you'll find the
"Silver Fox" won on occasion.

Temple has been good and will be again. You don't come out of the
basketball-rich Philly area without attracting talent. Houston has been an NCAA
player before.

The underlying key to success for all of these schools is a bigger league and
the fact that they represent bigger markets. Memphis, Houston, Philadelphia,
Dallas, and the Florida area are full of talent for the home and OTHER teams in
the league. Everyone benefits.

The same logic exists in football. Houston got national attention with their
offense and SMU has June Jones who also plays an offense popular with young
players. Last time I checked, there was considerable interest in Texas for
football. With the Big East involved, UC and others can now cultivate talent
from those same fields.

In Orlando, UCF lives in the same player-rich area as USF. The Bulls in Tampa
have grown because they've kept players that didn't go to Gainesville,
Tallahassee or Miami at home. If you look at most Division I rosters, (including
UC's) you'll see a boatload of players from the Sunshine State.

Memphis has been down, but they have a new coach and if they can keep players
from escaping to neighboring states, they can compete. It wasn't all that long
ago, that UC labored to beat Memphis.

It's easy to sit on a throne somewhere and declare a league dead because of
longstanding biases. It's much harder to do be open-minded and do the homework.


Wolfe and Schaffer among Bearcats interviewed at Pro Day

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It's a combination cattle-call/job fair that occurs every year at the University of Cincinnati. They call it "Pro Day".

Years ago, a handful of scout would show up at the Armory Fieldhouse and work out a five or six Bearcats and go home.  Some would get camp invites, some would get lip service.

Every now and then something odd would happen like basketball player Rod Monroe using his 6-4 height and seemingly endless wingspan to haul down a high football, pivot, bounce it perfectly on the surface and dunk it into a basket that was in the way.

Rod and his two career catches as a Bearcat was a seventh-round NFL draft pick and played in a Super Bowl for the Falcons.

Now, Pro Day is held in the spacious, climate-controlled Sheakley Athletic Center on a regulation-size field. 28 of the 32 NFL teams were represented March 1.

As the voice in the cornfield said, "If you build it, they will come."

I'm sure this has been rehashed in other areas, but my impression was Isaiah Pead was the "darling" of the group with 4.47 combine 40 and his impressive Senior Bowl.  Bengals running back coach Jim Anderson spent a lot of time with the Pead family.

Zach Collaros also looked good to me throwing the ball.  He threw some precision deep balls and benefited by having former teammates Armon Binns and Vidal Hazelton back to help catch them.

Again, Zach will be knocked for his height, but he's roughly the size of Drew Brees who's had a relatively good run around the six-foot mark.

Derek Wolfe also did his share of interviews after measuring out with the biggest hands there (10 3/4) and pounding out 33 reps on the bench press.

Here's Wolfe in a drill with Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes:
x


Also turning some heads was tight end Adrien Robinson who ran a 4.51 40. That time would've been third best at the NFL Combine.

Finally, despite a hamstring issue that kept him from running, linebacker JK Schaffer cranked out 26 reps on the bench press and probably as many interviews as he worked the crowd like he was running for office this November.

For what it's worth, I think JK is a sleeper. Whatever camp gets him will get a relentless, blue-collar worker who seemingly is in on every play.  From covering NFL drafts and college football for 25-plus years I can tell you what is often ignored is, "Can they play football?"

JK Schaffer has represented the La Salle Lancers, UC Bearcats and certainly can.

Loveland vaulter jumping from Tiger claws to C-Paws

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It is a unique skill.

You sprint like an ancient knight engaged in medieval jousting, deposit a pole into a trough, hoist yourself upward, contort your body over an inch-thick bar, then fall some 12 to 13 feet downward toward a pit of foam.

Most track athletes can't successfully execute the first few steps. Fortunately for Loveland High School, Eric Bryant can. The senior holds the school record in the pole vault and is about to begin his sixth season of soaring for a Tiger track team.

"I started in the seventh grade at Loveland," Bryant said. "I just saw the pole vault as being unique and different and I wanted to try it. I realized I was pretty good at it."

At 6-4, Bryant used his athletic build in basketball for a couple years and in football all four years at Loveland. However, propelling his lanky frame skyward in the spring proved to be Bryant's calling.

"It helps a lot," Bryant said of his height. "The taller you are, the closer the pole is to vertical. College coaches actually look for the taller vaulters."

Kent State, Morehead State and University of Colorado-Colorado Springs coaches all looked at Bryant, but he settled on the comforts of home and the University of Cincinnati. He will focus on math and business and clearing the bar for the Bearcats.

"I'm very excited," Bryant said. "UC field coach Kris Mack is from the West Coast and is a lot like my current coach, Scott Carney. They're very similar."

Not associated with the UC track team, Bryant practices with other prep athletes with the UC Track Club. The group is open to any area athlete. There is a fee to belong and per event, but the participants can use UC facilities (this time of year, the old Armory Fieldhouse).

The convenience and camaraderie sold Bryant on staying in town.

"I met the vaulters at the UC Track Club and I got along pretty well with them," Bryant said.

At Loveland, Bryant has cleared 13'3" (in last year's regionals at Dayton) and surpassed 14' in the summer. The regional mark set the school record, one that Bryant hopes to better by more than a couple feet this season. He's shooting for 15'6".

How does it feel to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, flip over a bar and freefall into a pit?

"It feels really good," Bryant said. "When I first went to 13' and tied the school record, it felt really, really good. When I broke it, it felt even better. It just goes really fast, you don't even think about it."
bryant.jpg

To perfect his craft, Bryant watches You Tube videos of others, including those of retired Ukrainian vaulter Sergey Bubka. His record of 20' 1.75" has stood since 1994, when Bryant was a baby.

He also relies on the local "pole-vault community." Because of the specialization involved, many schools share tips, video, facilities and sometimes equipment.

"Loveland doesn't supply much. I have to usually go out and get it on my own," Bryant said. "Anderson and Turpin gave me poles."

When not soaring on Loveland's track, Bryant soars toward musical notes with the Loveland Show Choir. Though he prefers B.O.B. and Lil' Wayne, Bryant and the singing Tigers are preparing for the World Choir Games upcoming in Cincinnati.

In a recent show with the choir, he was able to play the part of Dan Aykroyd's Blues Brother character, "Elwood."

The "Pole Man" Bryant will be in class at UC this fall.

Players you hate (or like)

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My theory on judging opposing teams and players has always been, "Who on that team would you like to  have on yours?"

If you think about it, there's probably several.  I've used this argument over the years when comparing the Steelers and Bengals.  I'm not necessarily a gung-ho fan of either in terms of face paint and jerseys, but I've always appreciated the Steelers' toughness and success--even though I typically want the Bengals to beat them.

It's not being a Steeler fan, it's just appreciating good coaching and athletes.

Likewise, though my UC allegiances have never been doubted, there have been players that I grew to like even though they were thorns in the backsides of the Bearcats.

I'll surely miss a few, but I enjoyed the following:

1) Penny Hardaway at Memphis--great player but UC owned him and it usually meant a big win.
2) Tom Kleinschmidt at DePaul (yeah, some of these date you youngsters). "The Doughboy" was one tough cookie.  It made for a great chant from Bearcat fans.
3) Quentin Richardson, DePaul.  Awesome player who's halfcourt shot was past the buzzer a few years back when DerMarr Johnson sank a shot to beat the Blue Demons in the epic "Kenyon takes over" comeback game.
4) The tandem of Scott Highmark and Erwin Claggett. The Billikens of Charlie Spoonhour could "ball" and shoot the "trifecta". Thank goodness LaZelle Durden had a shot left in the Great Midwest tournament.
5) Gerry McNamara, Syracuse.  Got to give it up to a guy that single-handedly beat a decent UC team and everyone else that year in the Big East tournament.
6) Sam Young and Dejuan Blair of Pitt.  I still preach Sam Young's shot-fake to my younger kids and Blair was a Wes Unseld-like presence that couldn't be stopped.
7) Luke Harangody, Notre Dame.  One ugly dude, but a reliable, old-school player.
8) Kemba Walker, Connecticut.  I assume you watched last year's Big East and NCAA tournaments.
9) (NOT INCLUDED:  Diego Guevera of UNC-Charlotte--blowing kisses is one thing; running to our fans and dropping F-bombs at UC fans after a CUSA tourney win in Freedom Hall crosses the line.)
10) (NOT INCLUDED:  Francisco Garcia of Louisville.  Thought he was a dirty player and a crybaby.  No respect in my book.)

That leads now to my current list.  While UC has defeated several of these guys and their respective teams, who wouldn't want them on your side?

1) Starting with my favorite--Dennis Kilicli of West Virginia.  Sure, he looks like their mascot on  'roids, but give me some flying elbows and a strong hook shot (the lost shot of basketball).
kilicli.jpg
(Thanks to www.bleacherreport.com/Getty Images)

Throw in Kevin Jones and his bag of tricks and Truck Bryant and that's a power trio.  Who doesn't need a guy named "Truck"?
2) Syracuse is loaded, but give me a long guy that can score in Kris Joseph and a seven-foot coordinated monster in the middle (Fab Melo) and I'll take my chances.
3) Moe Harkless of St. John's.  Beaten UC twice. You'll always take the best player in New York City.
4) Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut.  Huskies best scorer and last year's tourney experience=money.
5) Jack Cooley, Notre Dame (see Luke Harangody above).
6) Herb Pope, Seton Hall.  It seems like Herb's in his 15th year of college basketball now.  At one time, he had interest here.  Darn!
7) Vincent Council. Providence.  Bearcats fried the Friars the other night, but Council scored at will.  Sign me up.
8) Chane Behanan, Louisville.  A beast already and he'll only get better.  Should've been here. UC had the inside track and the kid was in the backyard.  There's a nice Enquirer story out that includes some unique coincidences in life. Funny how things work out sometimes, huh?

That's mine. Who do you have?  We've all had these thoughts.  No matter what the level, there's always someone you compete against that you seemingly hate.

Why do you hate them?

Because they're beating you.

Heck, the Yankees have built teams for years on this theory.  Next time you're in a pick-up game somewhere and you're choosing up sides, take the guys you hate!

Jackson jams might ignite Bearcats

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UC basketball coach Mick Cronin has said that statistics can be deceiving.

However, logic says if Justin Jackson can score 14 points a game, the Bearcats' chances are helped immensely.

"How many shots?" Cronin asked when I questioned what 14 points from Jackson would mean each night. "If he's five-for-five (as he was against DePaul) we'll take it."

Cronin says Jackson's shot selection has been better.

One shot in particular stood out in the DePaul game Feb. 4.  It was a thunderous dunk from the lane that reminded me of moves Kenyon Martin, Jason Maxiell and Eric Hicks would make. Just "take no prisoners" and ram it home.

Dunks like that are a huge momentum changer.  I spoke with Jackson about that and other "deep" topics before a recent practice.

Bearcats circle the 275 loop for area recruits

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Among the University of Cincinnati's signing class for 2012 are eight who played prep football in the area.

From Colerain, there's defensive backs Dylan Coombs (son of Kerry) and Andre Jones; defensive back Zach Edwards and running back E.J. Junior come from Middletown; offensive lineman Ryan Leahy is from La Salle; offensive lineman Caleb Stacey from Oak Hills; offensive lineman Kyle Williamson from Madeira; and defensive back Drake Bruns is from Highlands in Fort Thomas, Kentucky.

Here's coach Butch Jones' thoughts on the locals on signing day.

Cincinnati's best quarterback passes

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For one season, in 1994, I worked with Greg Cook on the Bearcat football radio broadcasts along with Paul Keels.

It was my first of 14 seasons doing a job I grew to cherish and it was Greg Cook's last.

Short-lived. Highs and lows.

Just like the late quarterback's life.  The legendary No. 12 sadly left us on Jan. 26 at age 65.

To say I remember Greg Cook's entire career would be a lie because I was only eight-years-old when he was named American Football League rookie of the year for the Bengals in 1969. I do remember the Bengals beating the two best AFL teams that year, the Chiefs with Len Dawson and the Raiders with Daryle Lamonica (coached by John Madden--yeah, the video game guy).

Cook's college career at UC is folklore to a lot of us, but his records at the time were incredible. He threw for 3,272 yards and 25 touchdowns in 1968, including 35-56 for 554 against Ohio University.  Those numbers weren't approached until Gino Guidugli and Ben Mauk hit the scene with spread offenses.

Greg Cook was the prototype quarterback before the term was even used.  He stood 6-5 and weighed at least 220, had huge hands and could fling a football a country mile.  NFL Hall of Famer Paul Brown chose him first in the 1969 draft.

Unfortunately, a shoulder injury in his first year cost him his career.  He finished the year but was never the same after leading the Bengals to a 3-0 mark with the win over the Chiefs (who would go onto win the Super Bowl).

With today's technology, Cook would've been back better than ever.  In 1969, "sports medicine" was an icepack.

Because of that, Cook's career ended in the mid-70s after numerous comeback attempts. Because of that, then-Bengals quarterback coach Bill Walsh developed Virgil Carter and then Ken Anderson, who also should be in the Hall of Fame.

The one quote I'll always remember comes from my prior life in radio when I was producing Cris Collinsworth's "Sportstalk" shows.  I prided myself in getting good guests and tracking down people.  A random call from Chillicothe (Cook's hometown) got me in contact with Greg in the early 90s and I arranged for him to come to the studio to sit-in with Cris.

I also made a call to Bill Walsh, who had left the 49ers after taking two Super Bowls over the team that wouldn't promote him (passed over for "Tiger" Johnson).  Walsh was on NBC with Cris at the time and I got him on in the segment before Cook's appearance.

The late Hall of Fame coach said it to me prior to going on-air and said it on-air to Cris:
"He would've been the best ever," Walsh said. "Better than Montana, better than Young."
Cook.jpg
(Thanks to www.cincinnati.com)

I've remembered that quote for the last 20 years or so.  Joe Montana and Steve Young were MVPs and are Hall of Famers.  Ken Anderson should be.  Walsh coached them all, yet saved those accolades for a guy that basically had one season in the AFL before the merger of the two leagues.

It's evidence enough for me.

Because of that, and remembering being a kid and seeing "Greg Cook No. 12"  everywhere in 1969, I asked Cook to do me a favor at our first game in Bloomington, Indiana against the Hoosiers.

In all of my years doing the games, I lived for being on the field before a game soaking it all in and getting information from coaches and players.  I also liked picking up a football and displaying what a woeful passer I was (if you don't know, a college football is bigger than you think).

Despite my mediocrity, I wanted Cook to do one thing.

Throw me a pass.

I wanted to tell my kids I caught a pass from Greg Cook.  He did and I did and I treasure that reception to this day.

The rest of the year was filled with stories and laughs and observations that honestly shouldn't be shared in this format.  Greg Cook lived a colorful life.  At one time, he was Cincinnati's "Joe Namath", both in talent and reputation.

Like Joe, Greg had his awkward moments and I know he was dealt a bad hand in life (or a bad shoulder).  He had the gift of gab and looks and charm, but  what made him stand out, also would harm him.

In my opinion, Greg was the typical talented athlete who rarely heard the word, "no" and wasn't good at knowing "when to say when".  I "cast no stone" on him, because like many my age, I've done my share of growing up also.  I'm just reporting what I knew and what I saw out of respect.

On the air, he could be brilliant or he could go off on a tangent.  He was artsy and intelligent and honestly a lot different than many athletes.  He painted, he cooked, he actually brought us a homemade cheesecake the night we had him on the show.

In a way, he was an athletic eccentric.  On the road, he was fun.  I honestly thought he was going to talk a waitress in Madison, Wisconsin once to come to Cincinnati--the next day! (He had even ordered an extra potato pancake from her to sweeten the pot.)

Another game was at East Carolina and the UC charter plane left from a different spot at Greater Cincinnati airport than normal.  As we sat on the runway, pre-cellphone days, nobody knew where Greg was (which really wasn't unusual).

Finally, then-AD Gerald O'Dell gave the nod and the pilot took off for Greenville, North Carolina.  The next day it was an early afternoon kick-off, so we were at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium early as the pulled pork pregame scent was floating through the air and East Carolina's seemingly eight-hour pregame show was blaring across the stadium.

No one had yet heard from Greg Cook and the plan was to have a former assistant coach who was in administration at the time, Bruce Ivory, do color with Paul Keels with me on the sideline.  As we toted our gear to the highest point of the stadium, the visitor's radio booth, Keels and I looked to midfield.

There he was crossing the 50.

Numerous hours and several coffees later, Greg Cook had driven through the night and found East Carolina.  Again, this is pre-GPS or Smartphone.  As the story goes, the ex-quarterback was lost a few times but scrambled for positive yardage. 

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he had stopped somewhere for a potato pancake.

At the end of that season, because of a number of reasons, Cook was replaced by Jim Kelly, who had previously done games with Keels.  I went on to do 13 more seasons with Jim and he's blessed (and so are you) to have him still onboard for Bearcat games.

Greg Cook, then "morphed" out of sight.  We often joked that he just appeared like the guys in the "Star Trek" TV series out of nowhere.

Greg would be "underground" for awhile, then you'd see him at Sunlite Pool smooth-talking the "soccer Moms".  Or, he'd resurface at a Bengal function.

Regardless of his situation, he always had a million-dollar smile and a kind word. I can't speak for his behavior beyond what I witnessed.  There was part of him that was charismatic, then another part that most of us can't diagnose.

All I know is given today's offenses and medicine, Greg Cook would be enshrined in Canton.

Don't believe me, just read up on Bill Walsh.


Skill begins with SK

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I've always liked Sean Kilpatrick.

From the moment I first saw him playing summer ball at Woodward High School, I knew he was a gamer.

He had charisma and a shot and wasn't afraid to use either.

Even though he's friends with Lance Stephenson and Lance had crazy skills, I thought UC's team chemistry that summer was better with Sean than with Lance.

At any rate, I'm glad Sean is the one still here.

If you missed the Connecticut game Jan. 18 (and I missed the actual winning shot since I was coaching a basketball team at the time) you missed Kilpatrick taking Huskie fans from ecstasy to agony in a matter of seconds.

Shabazz Napier had just hit a long trey to tie the game at 67. then with 9.5 seconds left, UC inbounded the ball to Sean.

Seven seconds later, "SK" hoisted a three that silenced the crowd and the Bearcats notched the 70-67 win over No. 11 in Storrs, Connecticut.

You can't spell skill without "SK" (nice idea for a column).

I caught up with "Killa" the day after the big shot at Fifth Third Arena:

Norm represented

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Before there was "Represent the C", "Catapult", "Cattitude", "The Team Behind The Teams", "U Gotta C It", "Football You Feel", "Next Man In" or any of the umpteen catch-phrases used to promote and attract attention at UC, there was Norm Oxley.

I really don't know Norm's origins with the program, other than his daughter, Cynthia, was once Director of Marketing for Bearcat athletics and was a cheerleader when I was in school.

I met Norm during my tenure covering UC football on radio and through numerous trips to conference tournaments in the Great Midwest and Conference USA basketball days (when conference tournaments were affordable).

Initially, he was just an older guy that seemed to be on all the football trips and all the sidelines helping the equipment and training guys.  It was later that I picked up on Norm being a loyal contributor to Bearcat athletics.  In 1997, he won the inaugural Strubbe Distinguished Service Award among UCATS, the Bearcat booster organization.

Just goes to show you, never assume a guy handing out towels or Gatorades is nobody.

Norm Oxley was definitely somebody. Sadly, after an illness he passed away Jan. 12.

To those that think the Lindner Center has always existed, that Varsity Village has been in place for years, that Marge Schott Stadium has always been spectacular, the Sheakley Athletic Center (Bubble) blows up on its own and that Oscar Robertson had a statue built shortly after graduating, you probably haven't a clue who Norm Oxley is.

That's your loss.

There's an old country song by Barbara Mandrell called, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool". Not that Norm or I were great old school country fans, but that pretty much sums up Mr. Oxley.

He supported Bearcat athletics when Nippert Stadium had Astro Turf as hard as concrete and was temporarily condemned.  When there was no on-campus arena and students had to be bussed to Riverfront Coliseum to watch mediocre basketball, Norm was supporting his cheerleading daughter.

When football games were held at Riverfront Stadium out of necessity, when no league would have UC football and when the Bearcats finally made a bowl game after years of obscurity, Norm was there.

At football games, he would invite me into the locker room at halftime to get warm if we were playing a cold weather game (sideline reporters battle the elements--ask Tommy).  He'd offer an extra sandwich or can of pop after the game also (the players are seemingly fed continuously on road trips).

I doubt you'll find a harsh word about Norm Oxley from any football player in recent memory.

He basically was good to everyone he came in contact with.  My oldest is now getting a master's in athletic training and worked the Bearcat sidelines for a few seasons.  Knowing that most of those kids work harder than anyone can imagine, Norm was always looking out for them in a "grandfatherly" role.

On basketball road trips, Norm was always there with his three daughters and their families and seemed to know where one could gamble no matter the locale.  Often times, work would pull me away from fun, so Norm occasionally adopted my wife as his fourth daughter and watched after her as he would is own.

I recall one year, we even shared a ride to Pittsburgh with the Oxleys and Norm made a four-hour ride seem like 15 minutes.  Whatever steel or industrial town we passed, Norm had been there.  Odds are, he probably was as giving and caring there as he was everywhere else.

He was proud of his family and a proud Bearcat.  When I last saw him this fall, he wasn't at his usual place on the sideline.  He was hovered in the shade near UC's Nippert locker room. He still had his rings on with pride and was still decked out in red and black, but I could tell he wasn't quite himself.

Still, he smiled and asked about my wife and kids.  Some people will do that in passing as a throw-away line, others actually care.  Norm was the latter.

He cared and he contributed to a lot of people's lives at UC in a lot of ways.  It's tough to measure a man's influence in life, but in my book Norm Oxley was as loyal and dedicated a Bearcat as you'll ever find.

I have no say-so in what transpires at the University, but it's my hope that Norm Oxley is memorialized in some fashion this upcoming football season.

Locals among the Liberty Bowl heroes

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The Liberty Bowl champion UC Bearcats featured many budding stars that came from the area high school ranks. 

Butch Jones and staff have continued to recruit the best local talent and many of these young men experienced and participated in UC's Liberty Bowl victory in Memphis Dec. 31.

Since I cover area high schools during the day job, I shot some photos of a few and they are posted here.  Sorry for any photographic glitches, I was hired to write and then handed a camera. We learn as we go.
millsfrey.jpgcoombsschaffer.jpglozierbomar.jpgmilligan.jpgdetemple.jpgbujnoch.jpgmiliano.jpguc31,vandy24.jpg

From top to bottom: Cameron Mills (Colerain) and Drew Frey (Clinton-Massie) come off the field after a defensive play; associate head coach/special teams/DBs Kerry Coombs (ex-Colerain head coach) and JK Schaffer (La Salle); Colin Lozier (Colerain) and Maalik Bomar (Winton Woods) in pregame drills; Danny Milligan (St. Xavier) runs routes before the game; long snapper Tom DeTemple (Moeller) surveys the Liberty Bowl field; Austen Bujnoch, No. 76, (Elder) awaits to take the field with teammate Dan Sprague; Tony Miliano (Elder) drills a 44-yard field goal for the Bearcats in the second half; and the final score from Memphis on the Liberty Bowl Stadium scoreboard.