Aug. 26, 2008
DATE OF CONTEST: Thursday (Surely you know that by now!)
VENUE: The Friendly Confines of "The Nipp"
BE IN YOUR SEAT: 7:30 p.m.
THE SERIES: UC 1-0
LAST TILT: Bearcats won 31-zip in '06
Well, in addition to finding me in front of the Lindner Center acting as the "carnival barker" doing the "Back After A Year Hiatus Stadium Show", you now also get me here on GoBEARCATS.com.
While I'm not really pursued like Nick Lachey in a cellphone commercial (or like Nick Lachey anywhere for that matter) I still get stopped quite frequently to talk to people about UC. And, I'm always glad to do it. My degree is from this school (1983), my wife's degree is from this school and my oldest son is a student-athletic trainer here at the university.
I have what they call "ownership". I belong to UCATS, the Alumni Association, I buy season tickets and pay tuition. The success of UC athletics means something to me and defeats are rather painful.
So, that's what I'll try to do here. My goal has always been to tell the truth and "call'em as I see'em". After all, that's what Mom and Dad always said to do and I've learned thru parenting four boys ages nine to 20 that parents aren't necessarily "stupid".
Now, onto the "meat" of the might blog post--the "analysis" of the UC/EKU contest. Allow me to put on my white, scientific-looking, professorial lab jacket now....
UC's offense vs. EKU's defense
The Colonels have a new head coach in Dean Hood who was a defensive coordinator at Wake Forest. Had UC gotten the Meineke Car Care Bowl nod, Brian Kelly would've had a chance to "light him up" last year (and don't think Ben Mauk would've salivated at that!) While EKU was 9-3 last year, the only so-called "big" school they played was Kentucky who scored 50. Like I said, this isn't going to be your typical "analysis", this is your good friend Bearcat Scott comin' at you....I say make sure Bill Schnier (UC track coach) is there because this ought to be a track meet. Make sure UC Olympics medalists David Payne and Mary Wineberg are there to watch! Be it Dustin Grutza or Tony Pike or Chazz Anderson or Zach Collaros or Demetrius Jones at QB, this is the most talented group of Bearcat receivers I've seen. You've got long and tall (Howard, Binns, Robinson, Truesdell) guys that are quick (Barnett,Gilyard,Woodard) and guys that just make plays (Howard, Alli, Guidugli).
Running the ball is a more experienced Jacob Ramsey and the always tough John Goebel with freshmen Isaiah Pead and Darrin Williams pushing behind. Coach Kelly wants to see them all in game action, so don't be shocked if they try to put this game away early. Naturally, EKU will try to prevent that but won't on pure manpower alone. Notable in their defense though is former Bearcat LB Tyjuan Jones out of Trotwood-Madison. They also have some good DB's in Brandon Gathof (named preseason All-American by someone) McNicholas product Zach Denton and former Moeller Crusader Patrick McClellan.
NOD: UC 's just too deep.
EKU offense vs. UC defense
I know, I rambled about the UC offense, but I really think the defense is going to surprise some people.
You really have more experience on that side of the ball (even if Connor Barwin and Craig Carey switched sides so they could "sack dance" on the sidelines). Barwin is intriguing as he athletically brings a lot of speed, determination and attitude to a position that takes just that. He really should get a pro opportunity out of moving to DE. Terrill Byrd won't play this game due to discipline making him that much angrier when he lines up against the Sooners in Norman. Your linebackers are loaded with Smith, Manalac and Revels leading the way, while the secondary has three potential NFL draft picks (Mike Mickens, DeAngelo Smith and Brandon Underwood). Don't forget, while Brian Kelly's an offensive genius, he was a DEFENSIVE coach. These guys play fast and with attitude and should be fun to watch! The Colonels do have some interesting transfers to watch for in former Akron WR Stephon Fuqua and former Marshall TD leader Kelvin Turner.
NOD: UC (this ain't the OVC!)
Arguably, Kevin Huber should've been the Ray Guy award-winner last year. His numbers were better. Watching him punt makes me wonder if some drought-stricken areas might invite him out to bring rain. His hang time is incredible! Jake Rogers still has a monster leg and seemed to develop some much needed consistency late in camp. I'd look for Brandon Yingling to get a whack at the ball too in this one. If I told you I knew much about EKU's special teams, I'd be lying to you and Mom doesn't like that.
NOD: Mike Elston's men (UC special teams coach)
Throw It Out And See Where It Sticks
EKU will bring some folks from Richmond, they're nice people and there's a fair amount of locals that go to school there. This is their "payday" game and undoubtedly they'll want a nice debut for their new head coach. Realistically, that's going to have to come next month in their league. You can't overlook anyone, but with UC playing Oklahoma and a Big East schedule, they really need to administer their paddling early and not mess around. The real question I have here is, why is there no "r" in Colonel? That's perplexed me for years.