Monday, April 13, 2009

From the Extended Weekend That Was

Don’t be fooled. Just because there was an extra day on the weekend doesn’t mean it was even more exciting than regular weekends. If not for the Masters, I would have…well, I don’t know. Been productive? Engaged my brain in some sort of active learning mode? But who wants that to happen? Thank you old white men of Augusta for saving me. On to what happened over the weekend…

Angel Cabrera survives the battle of incompetence to win The Masters. Receiving the benefit of Kenny Perry’s collapse over the final two holes, Cabrera stumbled into a sudden death playoff with Perry and Chad Campbell. The three exchanged bad shots for the first playoff hole, especially Cabrera who hit from behind a tree and actually hit another tree, and only Chad Campbell was not able to pull off at least one decent shot, which eliminated him from the playoff. Cabrera then only had to wait for Perry to shank another shot and not let himself hit another tree, which Perry did and he did not on the next hole, to wrap up his first Masters title.

Many of the Masters tournaments I remember watching usually involved someone making great shots down the stretch to seize the title (minus Greg Norman’s meltdown in 1996). This one involved a trio of chunky guys seemingly doing everything in their powers not to win the tournament (That’s not to say chunky guys can’t win the Masters and play well in doing so. We all remember Mark O’Meara and Phil Mickelson.). It’s very rare that dramatic sports moments can hold interest and excitement while such poor execution is taking place. So take heart Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell. You may have lost, but you were a part of one of the most exciting and yet poorly played final few holes in Masters history. And I imagine that few hundred thousand you pocketed probably wasn’t too bad either.

Ole Miss baseball knocked off its high horse. After winning eight in a row, the Ole Miss baseball team was informed that it was not as good as it once thought. South Carolina took two of three over the weekend, breaking the Rebels’ impressive streak of SEC series wins at one. Ole Miss, which in the previous SEC series against Kentucky allowed only six total runs, gave up 21 runs to the Gamecocks with 20 of those coming in the Friday and Saturday games. Only the unstoppable force that is Scott Biddle was able to shut down South Carolina’s offense (A special thanks goes out to the New York Yankees and their concern over an injury that may not be there. And also to their general stubbornness).

Next up for the Rebels is a Tuesday game in Jackson, errrr, Pearl against Mississippi State, then a weekend series against Florida. At the halfway point of the SEC season, Ole Miss sits 9-6 in conference play and 25-10 overall. With another 9-6 half of a season plus a good showing in the SEC Tournament, I think we should look for Ole Miss to host a regional. Anything less than that and I foresee a trip to someplace with a really good team as the one seed.

Ole Miss football team scrimmages; mercifully no one is injured. Well, except that one injury that sends me into a full body flex and makes me think about throwing up. Wide receiver Andrew Harris did not take part in Saturday’s scrimmage thanks to a RUPTURED TESTICLE!!!!

(Still in a full body flex and thinking of throwing up…)

(Not done yet...)

(Just got a visual of trying to walk with a ruptured testicle…)

(More nausea…)


Spring practice just needs to be over.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are closing in on some kind of record. I would know more, but I’ve zoned out on the 82 game, six-month regular season and meaningless remaining games now that all the playoff spots are set. Whatever it is, I hope they do it.

The Ole Miss basketball team could take another hit unrelated to a knee injury. Allegedly, David Huertas is considering leaving school to begin playing in a professional league in Puerto Rico (his home country). People in the know seem to think Huertas has realized he’ll be getting squeezed out of some minutes next year with the return of Chris Warren and Eniel Polynice and the emergence of Terrico White, and wants to do what he can to improve his NBA stock.

Some also think another factor for leaving is his relationship with Andy Kennedy, which they perceive as a poor one. I don’t buy this thought at all. Both are extremely passionate and outward displayers of emotion who want to win, but their arguing with one another, which can get heated, never carries over outside of basketball. Kennedy is from the school of Bob Huggins (both on the court and off the court, you know, arrests and such) where a coach allows his players to talk back to a certain point. Huggins never shies away from a “discussion” with one of his players during a game and neither will Kennedy. It just so happens Huertas is willing to offer his point of view. If Huertas had ever crossed the line, he would have found himself on the bench and watching his minutes plummet.

As for the professional Puerto Rican team, the only reason I see behind that is as mentioned above, more minutes. I don’t necessarily agree with the potential move because I don’t think it really improves his stock that much (and selfishly I don’t want him to go), but if he’s convinced he can’t get what he needs at Ole Miss then he should leave. A sulking David Huertas is the last thing next year’s team needs. Well, that and a post combination of true freshman Reginald Buckner and senior DeAundre Cranston, which we are now facing.

Huertas has officially left the team. In two weeks, we've gone from a deep, talented team to an ultra-thin (especially in the post), talented guard-oriented team. Losing Huertas hurts because he would have been a great offensive option to have behind Terrico White and Warren (I mean, that's three pretty good scorers right there, plus with those two and their abilities to drive and kick out would have created multiple open threes for Huertas), but his points and contributions can be picked up much more easily than Malcolm White's. That's the loss that I think will keep next year's team from being really good.

Jackie Sherrill manages to create potential NCAA violations while not actually employed by a school where he could secretly create NCAA violations. Sherrill attended a Mississippi State practice at the invitation of head coach Dan Mullen and, while at practice, appeared to interact with the kickers and punters after it began.

Buried in the minutia of the NCAA rulebook is a bylaw that limits coaching staffs to one head coach, nine assistants and two grad assistants. Consultants are allowed to train the staff but cannot interact with players unless they are considered part of the coaching staff.

Mullen denied that Sherrill interacted with players saying, “He was coaching me. I don't think there's any limitation of coaches that can coach your coaches.” Sherrill concurred with that statement saying, “I wasn't coaching them. I was trying to coach the coaches how to coach them.” That was a lot of coaching going on without actual coaching going on.

Since I wasn’t there, I can’t say what really happened. A couple of reporters obviously saw it all and wrote Sherrill did appear to interact with the players, which leads me to believe Jackie Wayne did yet something else wrong. Let this be a lesson to young grasshopper Dan Mullen. Jackie Sherrill’s presence around any football program always, ALWAYS results in bad news.

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