Tag:Tom Fornelli
Posted on: August 3, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:49 am

Oklahoma to rise early and beat the heat

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This has been one of the warmer summers that I can remember in recent history here in my hometown of Chicago, but what we've got going on here in the Windy City doesn't really come close to the heat wave taking place in Oklahoma. In fact, most folks in Oklahoma probably don't remember a summer this warm in the area because there hasn't been one.

Which poses a bit of a problem for the Sooners as fall camp is scheduled to begin on Thursday, and the high temperature in Norman on Thursday is expected to be 109 degrees. Which is a slight drop from the high of 112 that the town is dealing with on Wednesday (that's a photo of Norman on the right). So in order to try and beat the heat, which is just about impossible at the moment, the Sooners are going to be waking up pretty early to get practice in on Thursday, as Bob Stoops has moved it from the afternoon to 6:45 AM.

“It's just like Fan Day. It's different this year because our guys are still in class,” Stoops told The Oklahoman. “My only alternative was to go at 6 at night. I was going to push it back to 6:30 but it's still over 100 degrees.” 

Of course, while moving the practices to the early morning will provide some relief, Oklahoma still has two-a-days starting on Tuesday, and you can't hold those in the morning.

“We're not sure (what we'll do),” said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “You're not going to be able to avoid it all together. You have to be smart. It's still 100 degrees at 9 (p.m.). It's a different kind of heat if the sun is not out. You can't do two practices in the morning.”

Whatever the coaches decide to do, let's hope they exercise extreme caution. I remember having to go through two-a-days in high school on some hot days, but nothing like the Sooners and other schools in the area are going to be dealing with.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 12:07 pm

Michael Floyd reinstated at Notre Dame

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In a move that everyone knew would be coming eventually, but just weren't sure when, Notre Dame announced on Wednesday that wide receiver Michael Floyd had been fully reinstated to the football team.

"From the very beginning of this process, Michael knew what was expected for him to be a member of our football program," said Brian Kelly in a release.

"Based on my own observations, I am very pleased with the progress Michael has made since March. That is why I am comfortable reinstating him to our football team."

As I said, this does not come as a surprise. When Floyd was able to get by Notre Dame's ResLife disciplinary board back in April without a suspension or even a possible expulsion it was only a matter of time before he rejoined the football team. He was then cleared for voluntary summer workouts with the team over the summer.

Floyd had been arrested on March 20th for a DUI, his third alcohol-related arrest since coming to Notre Dame in 2009.

His return to the team is a huge boost to the Irish offense as Floyd is one of the best wide receivers in the country. In his first three seasons in South Bend Floyd has made 171 catches for 2,539 yards and 28 touchdowns. The 28 touchdowns are already the most by any receiver in school history, and barring an injury or another arrest, Floyd will become the school's all-time leader in receptions and yards in 2011 as well.

See video of Michael Floyd talking about his reinstatement here, as well as Brian Kelly here
Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:51 pm

Seantrel Henderson to have back surgery

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Miami will have a bit of a hole to fill on its offensive line in 2011, as it was reported on Tuesday that offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson will undergo back surgery.

The surgery will take place on August 8th, and there is no timetable on Henderson's return. Still, considering that it's back surgery, it's possible that Henderson may miss the entire season. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Steve Gorten, Brandon Washington will move from right guard to right tackle to replace Henderson.

Henderson was one of the top recruits in the nation in 2010, and was named a Freshman All-American after starting nine games for the Hurricanes in 2010. He began complaining about back pain during the spring, and it continued during the offseason.

Henderson was already suspended for the Hurricanes' season-opener against Maryland
Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:28 pm

Syracuse's Gulley out of hospital

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The last week hasn't been very kind to the Syracuse football program. Wide receiver Marcus Sales was arrested on a number of different drug charges, and in scarier news, running back Prince-Tyson Gulley suffered multiple stab wounds during a fight on campus. Thankfully for Gulley, he's now been released from the hospital.

Gulley left the hospital over the weekend and is at home recovering with his father. It's expected that he'll return to Syracuse some time this week before camp begins on Friday, though nobody knows when he'll be able to return to the field, or what kind of punishment -- if any -- he faces for the incident.

Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said he's talked to Gulley since the incident, but he hasn't gone into any detail into what kind of consequences there will be for Gulley or Sales, saying it'll be handled internally.

Gulley suffered stab wounds to the back and arms after a fight broke out at a party following a group of non-students showing up at the party on campus.

Gulley only had 13 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown last season, but did return 30 kicks for 633 yards and is expected to play a much larger role in the Syracuse offense this season. 
Posted on: August 1, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 7:01 pm

Notre Dame mouthguards go high-tech

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Over the last few years in sports we've all started to get a better understanding of concussions and the long-term effects they can have on those who suffer them. Still, even if we're learning more about concussions, there's still a bit more to learn to help ensure the safety of not only college football players, but athletes in all sports.

And Notre Dame is taking a step in helping to figure things out.

When the Irish take the field this season, 22 players will be wearing new mouthguards that can record and report data about the impact of collisions on the field.
The "intelligent mouthguard" by Seattle's X2IMPACT records the g-force of collisions throughout games for 22 specially selected Fighting Irish players.

Once the units are fitted and in place, acceleration and rotation sensors gather real-time in-game data and send it via wireless transmitter to a laptop along the sidelines. That information will be used by medical experts, designers of protective gear, and other professionals to improve player safety by creating better mouthguards, helmets, and so on.
Notre Dame won't be the only school wearing the new mouthguards, either, as Stanford will also be wearing them this season. So when the Irish and Cardinal finish the regular season against one another in November, expect to see a lot of men in white lab coats and glasses in the sidelines alongside the bands.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 4:24 pm

Pelini: Refs told him Nebraska got jobbed at A&M

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has a reputation for being a bit of a hothead. A reputation that was only solidified during Nebraska's 9-6 loss to Texas A&M in College Station last November. That's the game which most people will remember seeing Pelini lay into quarterback Taylor Martinez on the sideline in the first half.

However, that wasn't the only time during that game that Pelini seemed angry. Just about every shot of him on the sideline that night showed Pelini displaying a face that could only be described as "oh my god that guy is going to kill EVERYBODY." It was a rage that was understandable considering his team was called for 16 penalties totalling 145 yards compared to the two false starts that were called on the Aggies.

Well, for an insight into what really lit Pelini's fire that night, in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel, Pelini said that the refs that night told him his team was going to get the shaft.
I'd been on a late, tight deadline that wild and crazy Saturday night when Pelini cemented his image as a raging volcano. There were 16 penalties against Nebraska. I ripped Pelini rather than the officials. I thought that he brought the chaos on himself. But I had heard plenty of stories since. I needed to ask a question I wished I'd had the opportunity to ask after that game.

"Did any of those officials tell you during the game you were going to get jobbed?'' I asked.

"Yes,'' Pelini said.

What did they tell you?

"I won't say,'' he said. "But it was highway robbery. An absolute joke. I've moved on.''

So while you were yelling all night, were you sticking up for your players?

"No doubt,'' Pelini said. "I have their back. I always will. But if I had to do it over again, I would have done it different.''
By doing it different, Pelini explains that he'd have been just as angry, but he wouldn't have shown the anger and caused so many people to hide behind their couches that night.

Now whether or not Pelini is telling the truth about what the officials told him is another story. If it is, that's not exactly the type of thing that any conference would want to hear about taking place in its games. Whether Nebraska was leaving for the Big Ten or not, the idea that a conference would stack the deck against a team isn't good for anybody.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 1:09 pm

Which school has the best homefield advantage?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Every summer many college football fan's anticipate the release of Phil Steele's annual preview magazine as much as they do the college football season itself. If you're unfamiliar with Phil Steele, he's a man that enjoys doing three things: watching college football, doing math and writing about college football and the math he's done. It was these three hobbies of Steele's that helped him figure out which school has the best homefield advantage in the country.

Using a number of different factors including stadium capacity, attendance and home records, Steele was able to determine which schools have the biggest edge at their place, and it turns out that three schools are tied atop the rankings. None of which will come as that big of a surprise.

According to Steele, the three teams with the best homefield advantage in the country are Oklahoma, Oregon and Boise State. Those schools are followed by Ohio State and Virginia Tech to round out the top five. Eastern Michigan can lay claim to the worst homefield advantage in the country.

Now, while Steele's formula for figuring all of this out -- you can read all about it and see the entire list of rankings here -- is solid, I do have a small problem with it. He breaks every category down into a rating between 0 and 6. Which leads to a lot of ties in the final rankings. Personally, if I were going to do something similar, I would break the ratings down from 0 to 10. I'm sure there would be some ties, but not nearly as many as Steele currently has.

Though don't expect me to sit down and do it myself. I don't hate math, but I'm not looking to spend all of my time with it either. 
Posted on: August 1, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 12:39 pm

Northwestern making its Persa push

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Chicago is somewhat of an odd town as far as college football is concerned. Having lived here just about my entire life, I've noticed that while there are plenty of college football fans, most of them root for schools that aren't in the area. Notre Dame gets a lot of love here, as do Big Ten schools, but the Big Ten schools are places like Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Meanwhile, Northwestern, which is located just a few miles north of the city's borders, doesn't get that much attention. Something the school has tried to change in recent years with Pat Fitzgerald and the school's most recent "Chicago's Big Ten football team" ad campaign. Well it seems that Northwestern is taking another step in trying to get more eyes in Chicago on the local school.

Beginning next week on the city's Kennedy Expressway, millions of Chicagoans stuck in traffic will be staring at a billboard of quarterback Dan Persa as the school makes a Heisman push for him. It's actually one of two billboards the school is putting up, as another is planned to go up in Bristol, Connecticut. Home of a certain network.

Of course, while Persa is a good quarterback and was having a very good season for Northwestern in 2010 before he injured his achilles, I'm not sure Northwestern thinks he can actually win the Heisman barring some type of transcendent season in which the Wildcats wind up in the Rose Bowl again. I have to feel that the Chicago billboard is just another way of the school saying "Hey, Chicago, we're here you know."
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com