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Tag:Louisville
Posted on: August 6, 2008 10:38 pm
 

Five things you should know about Conference USA

Five things you should know about Conference USA

1. Central Florida's off-field problems: What happened to coach George O'Leary and the defending Conference USA champs shouldn't be wished on anyone. The fallout from the tragic death of player Ereck Plancher is just beginning. 

There has been criticism from outside the program. O'Leary refused to talk to an Orlando Sentinel reporter at the conference media days. Plancher's family has said it will file a wrongful death suit.

How will any of this impact the Knights? It remains to be seen but Central Florida is favored by many to win the East Division again.

2. New coaches: The league got a boost in name recognition when Southern Miss hired Larry Fedora, Houston got Oklahoma's Kevin Sumlin and SMU was lucky enough to sign June Jones. Combine those talents with Mike Price (UTEP),  Bob Toledo (Tulane), Skip Holtz (East Carolina) and O'Leary and you've got a Library of Congress full of football knowledge.

3. It's possible to make Warriors out of the Ponies: SMU didn't hire Jones for his blitz schemes. The Mustangs haven't been to a bowl since the rocks cooled but the hiring of the former Hawaii coach is meant to at least get people excited about the program again. Balls will be flying. We'll see if SMU takes off.


4. There is a dark horse Orange Bowl candidate: In this age of offense-first, why not Tulsa? Crazy-go-nuts coach Todd Graham is one of the leading purveyors of the spread option. He needs to find a replacement for quarterback Paul Smith but the schedule sets up for the Golden Hurricane to possible go 11-1.


5. There is hope for everyone: There have been seven Conference USA champions in the last six seasons. How is that possible? TCU and Cincinnati shared the 2002 crown followed by Southern Miss (2003), Louisville (2004), Tulsa (2005), Houston (2006) and Central Florida (2007).

Posted on: June 24, 2008 12:56 pm
 

Choking on bowls

OMAHA, Neb. -- NCAA Managing Director of Football and Baseball Dennis Poppe confirmed for me Monday what I've been wondering about the proliferation of bowl games.

When it comes to new bowls, it's promoter beware.

The NCAA in April approved two more bowl games, the Congressional Bowl in Washington D.C. and the St. Petersburg  Bowl in -- guess where? -- St. Petersburg, Fla.. That brings the total to 34 bowls. Do the quick math and that means 68 bowl slots. There were only 71 bowl-eligible teams last season.

Poppe, here for the College World Series, calls that a safe "margin of error." Three teams? (Actually, the number  varies from year to year but it's still close. In 2006, there were 73 bowl-eligible teams.)

 The pressure is not on the NCAA, which does little more than certify new bowls, but on the bowls themselves. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams, there simply won't be bowls.

"The only option right now is that the bowl wouldn't have a game," said Poppe, a former lineman for Missouri's 1970 Orange Bowl team. "That's what it always has been (but) we reaffirmed that. The association's position is that granting a license doesn't necessarily guarantee a game."

If there was a possible shortage, why did the NCAA certify the two new bowls? Legally, it doesn't have much choice.  It might be surprising to know that the NCAA has little to do with the postseason. It certifies bowls, assigns officials and sets rules. Other than that, cities, promoters, schools and conferences stage the games.

If there is a glut of games, the public loves it. Average attendance at the 32 bowl games in 2007-08 was the highest in eight years. That would suggest that although seven bowl eligible teams didn't make the postseason last year, there are fans out there willing to watch the likes of Troy, Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe. (The other four bowl eligible teams that did it get invites were South Carolina, Northwestern, Iowa and Louisville.)

The next hurdle for bowl executives could be the dreaded Academic Progress Rate. Beginning in 2009, teams that have posted a sub-900 APR three consecutive season could be banned from postseason competition.

"We are in an area where the margin is pretty thin," Poppe said. "I still think we should have enough teams ... The theory is to provide as much opportunity as possible."

 You might have noticed that the newspaper industry is in shambles. This is not gloating. While we Internet hacks seem to be the lucky ones, our hearts go out to colleagues who are being downsized because of corporate mismanagement.

Two good friends left their jobs recently. Wendell Barnhouse of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram took a buyout after more than three decades in the business. The Star-Telegram has decided to do away with its national college football beat as part of its downsizing.  Also, Howard Richman was let go at the Kansas City Star after a quarter century with the paper. He was covering Kansas State, nailing every breaking story on the beat.


These guys are two examples of how the reader is losing. Newspapers still haven't figured out to make their product  work in a changing media environment. Sure, the Internet is a threat but you would have thought by now that someone would have figured how to reconfigure newspapers.

The major problem is papers being run by corporations instead of journalists. This guy Zell who owns Tribune Co. literally scares me.

It used to be about putting out a good product. Now it's more about profit margin. This bastardization of a vocation causes good people like Wendell and Howard to leave the profession. Courage, guys. We're thinking about you.

 

Posted on: May 29, 2008 3:12 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2008 3:24 pm
 

Speed Inc.

Notes on the speed series that concluded on Thursday:

Mike Golden knows speed. However, you probably don't know Mike Golden. He is East Carolina's strength coach which in the college football world doesn't open many doors.

Golden quietly tutored one of the fastest players in the country the past three years. Chris Johnson led the country in all-purpose yardage last season, including a bowl record 408 yards in the Hawaii Bowl. Johnson was taken last month in the first round of the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.

"When we first got here, it was his sophomore year and he ran a 4.33 and (vertical jumped) 38 inches," Golden said. "When we got him he was down to 4.24 and jumped 43 1/2 inches."

Golden is not the only "speed" guy across the nation. Miami set the standard with speed coach Andrew Swayze. Ohio State has been using former Olympic sprinter Butch Reynolds. Every time you hear the designation "speed coach" it raises the age old question: Is it possible to teach speed. Swayze has helped develop a load of first-round draft choices. Reynolds says it's a combination of speed plus balance. Ohio State has been criticized for being slow when it comes to BCS title games.

Two things: Ohio State was good enough to get to the BCS title game and it hurts when your fastest player goes down. The Bucks lost Ted Ginn Jr. early in the 2007 BCS title game against Florida. It was downhill from there.

"A lot of people miss the fact that you've got to be strong to be fast," Golden said. "All they're worried about is stride length and stride frequency. We teach them how to run. We have a speed school. We show them from ground zero."

Golden says he "scours different things" -- DVDs, journals, articles -- for speed technique.

"I'm a good thief," he said.

Pirates coach Skip Holtz first hired Golden in 1998 at Connecticut, and then hired him away from South Carolina after coming to East Carolina in December 2004. While it's hard to quantify the results of speed, there is a basic indicator: Holtz' record the past two seasons (15-11) is the best for East Carolina since 1999-2000.

"Our first year and a half here we couldn't work on speed because we weren't strong enough," he said. "We would have blown hamstrings all over the place."

 Now he's crediting some of that speed training for the Pirates' Hawaii Bowl win over Boise State.

"When we went to that first bowl game (in 2006) we fell flat on our face," Golden said of a 24-7 loss to South Florida in the Papajohns.com Bowl. "It took us 18 hours to get to Hawaii, then we ran their guts off. We let them know we're on a business trip. That got their attention real quick. They thought we were going right to the hotel."

There are times Golden can determine in warm-ups if an opponent does speed work.

"I can tell how guys bend how fluid guys move," he said. "It's definitely an edge. Our kids will come to the sideline and say, 'These guys can't run.'

No one player will take Johnson's place this season. Junior running back J.R. Rogers will be part of a committee. He is the fastest Pirate at 4.32. Defensive end C.J. Wilson (6-foot-4, 271) ran a 4.55 at the program's recent NFL timing day. That would have been one of the fastest times at February's NFL combine.

  We only included 20 players on the fastest list on Tuesday. Here are a few others to consider (alphabetical):

Cam Baker, WR, Memphis, 4.35 40

Tim Brown, WR, Rutgers, 4.25

Rashard Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech, 4.38

Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia, 4.30

Dorin Dickerson, TE, Pittsburgh, 4.38

Brandon Dillard, WR, Virginia Tech, 4.28

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland, 4.23

Correy Earls, WR, Georgia Tech, 4.36

Patrick George, CB, Northern Illinois, 10.4 100 (high school)

Dante Lamar, DB, Memphis, 4.35

Emani Lee-Odai, WR, Maryland, 4.29

Scott Long, WR, Louisville, 4.24

Wopamo Osaisai, CB, Stanford, 10.39 100

Jock Sanders, WR, West Virginia, 4.33

Carlos Singleton, WR, Memphis, 4.37

Woodney Turenne, CB, Louisville, 4.33

Pat White, QB, West Virginia, 4.45

 

Posted on: April 3, 2008 11:05 am
Edited on: April 3, 2008 6:07 pm
 

Off to San Antonio, a couple of things on my mind

This was going to be all basketball-related until Ryan Perrilloux decided to go knucklehead again this week. This is from the student newspaper at LSU about an alleged altercation at a Baton Rouge restaurant ...

Another employee at Kona Grill confirmed Wednesday (April 2) that Ryan Perrilloux was involved in a verbal altercation at the restaurant, saying the junior quarterback called a server "Osama."

The employee agreed to speak to The Daily Reveille under the condition of anonymity and said the incident occurred Sunday around 10 p.m.

Another Kona Grill server, Drew Watson, said he knew "all about the incident" but "already agreed to management not to comment."

Perrilloux entered the restaurant with an unidentified former LSU football player and three employees from Crazy Horse Cabaret, the anonymous employee said.

He said the group sat in the cocktail area and began drinking. Perrilloux, the employee said, began yelling obscenities and racial slurs to their server.

After some time, the employee said the server spoke to a manager and asked him to address the rowdy group.

The employee said a manager asked the group to leave, and after the manager threatened to call the police, the group left.

The employee said a manager e-mailed the LSU Athletic Department and said he would not serve any more LSU players until he received a formal apology from Perrilloux.

Kona Grill allegedly received phone calls from LSU coach Les Miles, an assistant athletic director and Perrilloux apologizing for the incident, employees said.

Watson is not the server who spoke about the incident nor the server who was harassed.

LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said no such incident occurred at Kona Grill.

"We don't have anything to say," Bonnette said.

The Daily Reveille contacted Assistant General Manager Scott Aldridge on Tuesday evening, and he said he did not have a comment regarding the incident.

"I've been receiving a lot of calls about that and would like to stop receiving calls at the restaurant," Aldridge said.

The Advocate reported Wednesday that Aldridge said "Perrilloux was at the restaurant Sunday evening but didn't cause a scene."

Casey Hicks, public information director for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, said the Sheriff's Office was not called out Sunday evening to Kona Grill.

Perrilloux's suspension from the football team was lifted this past week, and he was expected to return to practice Monday.

WJBO reported Tuesday that Perrilloux "will not be participating in Spring practice at all this year" because of "an incident at a local restaurant over the weekend."

Our favorite suspended quarterback appears to be done for the spring which is kind of a big deal considering the spring game is on Saturday. Link

I'm told the fact that Perrilloux will miss the rest of spring isn't related to the alleged restaurant incident, but stay tuned.

 When will people (meaning you, Doyel) get off the Tyler Hansbrough train?

I'm not here to trash the kid. He's really, really good. But to continually harp on his "effort" and his "trying real hard" makes me sick. To say Hansy tries harder than everyone else is an insult to everyone else. Does he play harder than Kevin Love? No. Does he play harder than Derrick Rose? No. The point is, those guys aren't exactly slackers.

Let's go ahead and assume that most players give maximum effort. Hansbrough just happens to have bulging eyes that makes him popular with the Sam Peckinpah crowd. Let's not confuse talent with effort. Hansbrough has both but he's not the most competitive mammal on the planet.

Try taking a dead mouse away from a wolverine. I don't know why I wrote that, I'm just passionate about the subject.

Mike Freeman's America-loves-a-tough-white-guy column  is still the defining word on the issue.

  A colleague this week asked me to rank the top 10 college basketball programs at this moment. Came up with this. 1. North Carolina 2. UCLA 3. Kentucky 4. Duke 5. Kansas 6. Louisville 7. Florida 8. Georgetown 9. Texas 10. Memphis

That was before Indiana hired Tom Crean. So let's wait and see if the Hoosiers can claw their back into the at-this-moment top 10.

  Joe Paterno doesn't need a contract? Careful, Joe, you might get what you wish for. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com