Thursday, January 28, 2010

Five for Friday

After taking the week off, here it is, a return of the gimmick that is my five favorite stories from the week. In no particular order:

1. Eastern Washington hopes to avoid those outside the state of Washington confusing it with Washington and Washington State.
Both of which, unlike EWU, are Division I programs. Although, with the quality of football displayed by the two big boys as of late, I suppose it could get confusing. Anyway, to avoid said confusion, EWU (I have no idea what their mascot is, but from the looks of this it appears to be some sort of bird of prey, like a falcon, hawk or some sort of medieval dragon ) has plans to install red turf on its football field for the 2010 season. This unconventional decision will most likely influence many other schools in the near future to install team color turfs. And eventually, this will lead the way to Alabama playing on an artificial surface of houndstooth at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which will result in thousands of Crimson Tide fans mistakenly assuming that they are actually dead and this is what heaven looks like. For everyone else, it will result in an epidemic of vomiting.

And in a semi-related story, Washington State does not have plans to change the color of its field to white, despite their 3-22 overall record and 1-17 conference record in the last two seasons.

2. Dave Rader ruining my week.
Well, not so much a favorite story as it is an important one. Or maybe it's Houston Nutt ruining my week. Either way it sucks. The latest word on the street says Ole Miss' vacant offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach position is Rader's if he wants it, and apparently we're all waiting to see if he'd rather run for public office in Oklahoma. No, I did not make that up. So to clarify, Ole Miss is courting a man that's been out of coaching for three years (and wasn't good when he was in coaching) and is considering a run in politics. Do you need any more understanding than that to fully see how we can never get out of our own damn way?

Look, I know Houston Nutt is basically the offensive coordinator. He calls the plays, but at least will consider input (at least according to the recently departed Kent Austin). So one would think we're not looking for a true offensive coordinator (because no one like that would come to Oxford to not have control of play calling), but we're in the market for a guy with an offensive mind who understands he's on back-up vocals. Oh, and a guy WHO DOESN'T HAVE A WORTHLESS HISTORY LIKE ONE DAVE RADER. The new hire needs to be a passionate recruiter and have some potential that will eventually lead him to take a job elsewhere as a full-time coordinator. That's it. No retreads and no hacks.

Also, the word says that if Rader chooses politics over coaching, Miami's (that's The U, not the Dolphins) offensive coordinator Patrick Nix is the next man in line. Please, shoot me in the face and don't miss my brain.

3. The Winter X Games are so back!
These games are not to be confused with the Summer X Games, which take place in a different month and every ramp is covered with dirt instead of snow. The Winter X Games are a more dangerous, yet equally as unappealing version of the Winter Olympics. And I feel like more alcohol and/or hippie lettuce is involved.

4. John Calipari leads another top-ranked team to defeat.
Just two days after Kentucky became the number one team in the country, Calipari lead them into the jaws of defeat at South Carolina on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks, lead by Devan Downey, who, if you haven't seen, you need to watch, beat the Wildcats in a game Kentucky had no business losing. Sort of like that time Memphis lost to Kansas in the NCAA Championship game. Kentucky has some truly outstanding talent on its team, but their youth and the always shaky in-game Calipari cost them this game, and I would expect will eventually hurt them in March. Which is too bad, since Calipari, much like Jackie Sherrill, is so loved in his profession.

5. Dexter McCluster continues to raise his first paycheck; Shay Hodge does the same.
One of the big stories out of the Senior Bowl practices this week is the explosion of McCluster onto the national media scene (or at least those who cover the Senior Bowl) and the radars of NFL scouts. In the past few days, I've read multiple stories which declare McCluster one of the biggest surprises and fastest risers in the upcoming NFL Draft, the fastest person in Mobile and a guy who will be gone by the end of the second round. And to that I say, I could not be happier for him.

As someone who watched his entire college career, from the awfulness of the Ed Orgeron days to his hydrogen bomb-like explosion in the last half of the 2009 season, this is a guy who absolutely deserves everything that's coming his way (on a side note, anyone who survived the shitstorm of Ed Orgeron deserves a lifetime of good fortune). He changed his lifestyle, worked his ass off and proved everyone that said he was too small wrong (which, at times, included me). Who knows what would have happened in the 2009 season had the Ole Miss coaches' rolled the dice and started him at running back to start the year. For starters, I probably would not have had directed so much anger at Jevan Snead. But, given McCluster's history of injury and fumbling, they chose not to do so. I can't say that I disagree with them initially, but after the fourth quarter against South Carolina in which he ran for 70 yards on 11 carries, the rest of the year should have been the Dexter McCluster Show. Nevertheless, McCluster is on his way to getting paid and sleeping in the third bedroom of the apartment with myself and Peria Jerry.

While not getting as much talk as McCluster, Shay Hodge is quietly proving himself to be one of the best receivers in Mobile. He's not particularly fast, but he's strong and a fantastic runner of routes, which will endear him to many NFL teams since timing is such a huge part of the NFL passing game. It would not surprise me if he's finally getting the respect he deserves because he's no longer receiving passes from a quarterback who enjoyed throwing to both teams, but instead a quarterback who can find the open receiver. I look forward to seeing what he can do with competent passes headed his way. And even though my ode to Hodge isn't as filled with as much adoration and praise as McCluster's was, rest assured, my man crush on him burns just as bright as it does for Dexter (why yes, we are on a first name basis since we're almost roommates!).

Coach's Diary: Dave Rader Edition

It's a little known fact that most coaches in every sport in every level of competition keep a diary. Here, they have a place where they can turn and reveal their innermost thoughts and reactions to both the smart and incredibly stupid things they do during the course of their job (We know they don't turn to their wives because she doesn't understand the complexities of sport, but a blank piece of paper sure does.). And, thanks to my stealthy skills in the field of breaking and entering, you, the reader, now have access to these innermost thoughts penned by some of the finest and not-so-finest minds in the world of sport.

(NOTE: For those of you wondering just who the hell Dave Rader is, he was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach during Mike Shula's illustrious run at Alabama. Although he's been out of coaching for three years, his name has erupted in the last day or so as a candidate for Ole Miss' vacant offensive coordinator position. Why in the hell this has happened I do not know.)

7:32 PM

Dear Diary,

Holy smokes have I just found myself a winning lottery ticket! A friend here in Tulsa hooked me up with some photographs of Gus' nemesis, Houston Nutt, who's at Ole Miss. I know, who knew he was there! And I gotta tell you, these pictures aren't pretty. I mean, I've never seen a grown man punt puppies with such vigor and rage. Really disturbing stuff. Anyway, I guess Gus must have let Houston know about these pictures and now Houston won't stop calling me asking me if there's anything I need. He even told me about a job on his staff that had just come open. And as luck would have it, it's what I used to coach when I was at Alabama with Mike (by the way, I wish I could unsee the pictures I had of him rampaging through that nursing home. He didn't have to break all the wheelchairs.).

Wow, the thought of getting back into coaching just gets my heart pounding again. Brings back a lot of good memories. Remember that '03 team at Alabama? We tore it up that year. 79th in total offense (85th in passing and 54th in rushing) and 69th in scoring at 25.5 points a game. Man, what a year! I even helped Brodie get up to 72nd in passing efficiency. In the country! Yeah, we went 4-9, but we were building something.

And if I'm gonna mention '03, I have to bring up '04. 6-6 and 94th in total offense (112th in passing and 76th in rushing) and 64th in scoring offense (24.6 a game). It was a little shaky there, but we got in sorted out. Improved by two wins! And I even got Spencer out of the dark and brought him into the light. Could you believe he finished 91st in passing efficiency? I'd have to think about it, but that could have been my finest performance ever.

By the time 2005 rolled around, I was really hitting my stride. Heck, we even went 10-2 that year. Won the Cotton Bowl. I coached 'em up better than ever that year. Got us up to 67th in total offense (69th in passing and 65th in rushing) and squeezed out 85th in scoring (21.9 a game). Brodie and I worked hard and it paid off when he finished 42nd in passing efficiency. My first top 50 quarterback! A special kid and a great year.

My last year in 2006 was a tough one. Not so much that we finished 6-7, but that I really felt like with the progress we made that I was set to help us crack the top 60 in every offensive category for the first time. I had a young, but talented quarterback in John Parker (47th in passing efficiency and two straight top 50 qbs for me) and we were really cranking that year. 65th in total offense (49th in passing and 77th in rushing) and 68th in scoring (22.9 a game). It was too bad Mike didn't have any dirt on someone over him. We might still be there. And 2007 certainly would have seen us crack the top 60.

Well, need to wrap this up, gotta go find all my old playbooks out in the garage. I know I'll be dreaming of power runs and basic play-action passes tonight. Can't wait to hear from Houston!

P.S. I hope Houston is ready for all the ideas I'm going to bring. I just know he'll let me tinker with the offense.

P.S.S. I need to send Gus a gift for helping me out. I'm thinking a visor would be nice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Travolta at the Senior Bowl

Last week, we were graced with the presence of marginally notable actor John Travolta (that's assuming you count Grease and Saturday Night Fever, which, unfortunately, have to be counted) as he gave us his top ten prospects for the 2010 NFL Draft. Since then, Mr. Travolta has informed me how much fun he had rating his top picks and that he wanted to do something else related to college football for The Belly of the Beast, as long as he got a chance to plug his film, From Paris With Love, in which he appears as a bald man with immaculately groomed facial hair of the pornstar or strip club owner variety, who also happens to be something close to the world's greatest spy/destroyer of bad guy's shit (at least that's what I gather from the previews on TV). So of course I said yes, I'll find something.

And although college football is pretty much at a lull (minus the recruiting madness, which I am proud to say I have finally avoided with tremendous success), there is still one major event going on before signing day and that is the Senior Bowl. Held in Mobile, Alabama, the Senior Bowl is a mini-NFL combine of sorts. Pro scouts descend upon college football players divided between two teams coached by NFL staffs and complete evaluations of these players, who, at best, have played in two college football games since late November/early December. So lots of stock should rest in these performances.

Given his eye for talent, I told Travolta to head down to the Senior Bowl and give us a report on who he liked and didn't like. This is that report:

"So happy to be back here, guys. As an actor, one of the things I love is the opportunity to sharpen one's craft. In my career, Broken Arrow was the point where I really thought I started to pull everything together. It was a great time for me and I really felt my strengths in acting were showing through. And that's the way I'm approaching my time here on The Belly of the Beast. I've been given my chance to show my knowledge of college football, and now I'm ready to sharpen that knowledge.

When I arrived in Montgomery for the Blue-Gray Football Classic, I could sense a buzz of excitement around town. Young people trying to position themselves for a great future opportunity. It's just electric, that kind of energy. Reminds me of the set of Swordfish. I set out for the practice fields early Monday morning, hoping to catch a few interviews before the practices started. Well, I must have been a little early because there wasn't anyone around. Not even trainers or equipment managers setting up for practice. I found this a little odd considering these practices were heavily attended by pro scouts. So, I sat back and waited for..."

Okay, John, I'm going to cut you off there. It seems that Mr. Travolta went to Montgomery, Alabama instead of Mobile. Montgomery was the host of the Blue-Gray game until 2002 when it was discontinued (it was played in 2003 in Troy, after which it officially ended). The game was usually played between two teams filled with seniors from teams that did not make bowl games, which would explain Mr. Travolta's attraction to the game and the city of Montgomery (if you've never been to Montgomery, its failure matches up nicely with Travolta).

I apologize for the confusion, I should have known Mr. Travolta needed more specific instructions, just like he needed after Pulp Fiction when he should have been told you've peaked, stop making movies. Hopefully, John will make his way to Mobile and we'll get a report on his favorites that we can expect to see not drafted in April. Until then, rejoice, Montgomery! John Travolta is solidifying your below averageness.

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

Urban Meyer looks forward to relaxing by the pool with his family this spring.
After taking off "a day and a half," Meyer found that spending some time with the family and generally doing nothing "didn't work." Now, just 24 days after momentarily exciting his family with his taking-a-break talk, he announced that he is back at work (although traveling less during this recruiting season) and will coach the team during spring practice. So, does his family just annoy the hell out of him or something? Potential death or rest? POTENTIAL DEATH or rest? Potential death or REST? Build yourself a man cave if the Mrs. and the family start closing in. Although, I suppose I should not question nor offer advice to the man who stunned the college football world with his revolutionary desire to have the fastest team in America.

The Winter Olympics.
Although they could have. If they were pushed for time, they could probably even knock out the entire thing on a Tuesday afternoon. Instead, NBC chooses to drag out this worldly convention for white people over two weeks. This, of course, deprives the country of some hit NBC programming such as Chuck, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU and Law & Order Hobo Misdemeanors (For those of you unfamiliar with NBC, the Law & Order series is NBC's version of CSI on CBS. Much like there's a CSI for every major to mid-major city, there's a Law & Order for almost every crime. And if you're wondering, Law & Order Mayhem starts in May.). And life without these shows will outrage the 114 people still watching NBC now that the Leno/Conan uproar has ended. Personally, I don't care. I just can't wait to see the 30-km freestyle race in cross country skiing. Those damn Norwegians and their smugness. I hope Austria teaches them a lesson in humility in Vancouver.

Brett Favre plays responsible football on the way to a Vikings' NFC Championship win.
Let's see, 2 picks and one fumble inside the Saints' 10. Sounds like a Brett Favre performance that will be hailed as gutsy and a guy looking to always make a play. Oh, and don't forget, he was just having fun out there. Like a kid on the playground (I think I've covered all the usual excuses). It was a typical Favre performance though. He made some great throws while taking some unbelievably stupid chances, the last of which cost his team a chance to win. Personally, I would love for the last throw of his career to be an interception for two reasons. One, I don't like him. Never have. I think he's one of the most selfish people to ever play sports and his aww-shucks/buddy-buddy relationship with the media (which he masterfully crafted) has kept him from being properly hammered for all the dumb things he has done on the football field. If he's praised for his recklessness when it works, then he must be called out when it doesn't. And two, while he has been a good quarterback throughout his NFL career, the image burned into our collective minds when recalling him will be a pass that even Tarvaris Jackson (his backup) knew not to throw. Ah, sweet justice.

The New Orleans Saints crush the souls of its fans in yet another bout of failure.
The New Orleans Saints are in the Super Bowl. The New Orleans Saints............are in the Super Bowl. In my lifetime, I assumed that the only time I'd ever hear that sentence was a friend telling me about a season he was playing in one of the Madden video games. Seriously, even if you are a Saints fan you had to believe this would never happen, right? It's a franchise that has, in my lifetime, trotted out two guys named Billy Joe, Bobby Hebert, Jeff Blake, Aaron Brooks, WADE WILSON and someone named Todd Bouman at quarterback. And if I took the time, the list could be filled with at least 10 more Bill Joe Hoberts and Tollivers. I'm not a Saints fan, so, for me, this is most certainly their "Ate a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in the refrigerator" moment. Enjoy it while it lasts, you former Clippers of the NFL.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Coach's Diary: Ed Orgeron Edition

It's a little known fact that most coaches in every sport in every level of competition keep a diary. Here, they have a place where they can turn and reveal their innermost thoughts and reactions to both the smart and incredibly stupid things they do during the course of their job (We know they don't turn to their wives because she doesn't understand the complexities of sport, but a blank piece of paper sure does.). And, thanks to my stealthy skills in the field of breaking and entering, you, the reader, now have access to these innermost thoughts penned by some of the finest and not-so-finest minds in the world of sport.

(NOTE: None of the Yaw-Yaw-Yaw speakaging that is usually printed when Ed Orgeron talks will be seen here because in Orgeron's mind, everything he says is perfectly clear, Grade-A, 100% comprehendible American talk.)

3:53 AM

Dear Diary,

What a beautiful morning it is! Just got to into the office here at USC and am pounding out a few minutes on the treadmill before I fire up the tape to watch 17 straight hours of high school highlight videos. GONNA FIND ME SOME WINNERS FOR THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS TODAY! SOME COMPETERS! WHOOOOOOOOOOO! The Red Bull is chilling in my new machine (much bigger than the one I had at Tennessee) and I've already called the secretary at home to tell her I want my alligator gumbo delivered no later than 11:30. And I need to find out just why in the hell she wasn't up at 3:15. You don't make the USC Trojans better by sleeping. You've got to work and compete around the clock if you want to be a first-class football operation. Speaking of which, I need to call her again to get her to place an order for eight shrimp rings for this afternoon's recruiting meeting. The old man, Monte, can't get enough of those. Now if I can just get him excited about alligator gumbo and pork rinds.

All this talk about food has my appetite up...AN APPETITE FOR WATCHING FILM. It sickens me how far behind I am in evaluating. I couldn't get all my recruiting tapes and evaluations out here before Tennessee cracked down and stopped me. HOW DARE THEY RUIN MY RECRUITING PROCESS! THOSE WERE MY TAPES, MY EVALUATIONS, MY WORK THAT TOOK OVER A YEAR AND NO LESS THAN 408 CASES OF RED BULL! I will burn them for this, especially that staffer who told me I couldn't get my tapes. MY TAPES! MY TAPES! MY TAPES! MY....

Easy there, big guy. Think happy thoughts before that vessel on your temple explodes. Ha...remember that kid I found near Lake Charles? Ooohhhh, man! Linebacker! Little to no twitch and was fast as a fan boat with nitrous boosters. He was going to be the next great Tennessee Vol. Too bad he couldn't have passed the fourth grade. I should probably give him a call at that junior college he went to. Tell him I've got a hole in my linebacking corps and he's the perfect fit. Gonna be my eyes on the field. And let him know that THE DAY HE SIGNS WITH THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS WILL MAKE IT A GREAT DAY TO BE A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJAN! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

Alright, gotta run now. It's 4:03 and time to call that lazy son of bitch, Lane and ask him why he's not here already. We talked about this. In the office at 4 and back home at 11 PM. AIN'T NO CHAMPIONSHIPS WON WHILE SLEEPING! WE'VE GOT TO BE ON OUR FEET TO COMPETE!



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Outsider's Top Ten Draft Board

ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay have become household names when the winds change and it becomes NFL draft season. From now until late April when the NFL draft takes place, Kiper and McShay will be familiar faces on just about every ESPN broadcast. Even if it's a damn college basketball game, you'll find at least one of their top five offensive linemen rankings rolling across your screen. And if you make the unfortunate error of turning on SportsCenter at 5:00 pm (CST), you can fully expect a raging debate over the best available picks once the fourth round arrives. So, with these experts of sorts dominating the airwaves, I felt it was time to go outside the box and find someone with a fresh perspective on the best players available for the draft in April.

Luckily, I was able to find such an outsider who had plenty of free time on his hands and was willing to send the Beast his top ten players for the 2010 NFL Draft. So let me introduce one of the great actors of our time, a man who has starred in such fine films such as Battlefield Earth, Wild Hogs, Swordfish, The General's Daughter, Face/Off and is currently starring in the disaster-in-waiting, From Paris With Love, Mr. John Travolta! Take it away, John.

Wow, so happy to be here, guys. You know, when you embark on a career, no matter what the field, it's important to be recognized for excellence. It lets everyone know how hard you've worked and makes your work and dedication that much more special. I know I couldn't wait for the adoration after the time and effort I put into Battlefield Earth. That was a project I really bought into and couldn't wait to show America. And that's what these college guys have done. They've worked hard for four years, although some made the jump a little early (like after I got done with Urban Cowboy), and now is their time to be rewarded. So, now, thanks to The Belly of the Beast, I get to list my guys that I consider the best in the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
What can I say about this guy? He takes chances and isn't afraid to miss. If Jevan and I traded places, do you think Face/Off even gets made? Of course it does! He's not afraid to roll the dice with Nic Cage and a script that makes about as much sense as me ever getting another script the rest of my breathing life. The kid has got it, and I'm not even sure what it is. If I can make millions of dollars making shitty movies, this kid can do the same playing quarterback in the NFL.

2. Tyson Lee, QB, Mississippi State
Short isn't an excuse for not taking this kid. Some of our finest actors are short. Seriously, have you ever seen Danny DeVito? He's a bridge troll! I like this kid because he's a gamer. If he fails, he doesn't remember it. That's the way you have to play it here in Hollywood. Anyone who passes on this kid probably takes a pass on Wild Hogs 2.

3. Cordera Eason, RB, Ole Miss
Sure, he's made some mistakes with some fumbles, but who doesn't? Remember Pulp Fiction? I should have asked for more lines. Would have been a much better movie.

4. Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee
You talk about a comeback, this kid came back from the dead. He stunk earlier in the football season, but rebounded like I did when Get Shorty came out not too long after I did Pulp Fiction. That let people know I was here to stay. This guy is guaranteed to pump out average results at best. I admire that work.

5. Joe Cox, QB, Georgia
Oh, the sweet Ginger Ninja. I once considered a role as a ninja, but I found out it would interfere with Be Cool, the followup to Get Shorty. When you've got a potential franchise going, you can't turn your back on a good thing.

6. Chris Todd, QB, Auburn
For a while there, many people thought there was no room for someone like me in Hollywood. Seriously! They thought I had lost my fastball, my ability to bring a complete performance. I think Hairspray put all that talk to rest. All this Todd kid needs is his Hairspray chance.

7. Joshua Shene, K, Ole Miss
I've heard a lot of my performances described as weak, which is ridiculous. Everyone knows, the bigger the stage, the better I bring it. Swordfish, anyone? Much like young Josh here, you can count on Mr. Saturday Night Fever to deliver when the goods are for sale.

8. Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
Difficult to work with and injury problems are hounding my man Greg. I got the same reputation when I was working on The Punisher. Unbelievable! Why would I ever do anything to jeopardize the run I have going in the 2000s? I work well with others and only care about the greater good of the film. How else does one come to own a jet?

9. Justin Sparks, P, Ole Miss
A punter? Surely not, you might say. But I'll tell you, the kid goes all out. Yeah, his 34.6 yards per punt doesn't stand out, and he lost his job early in the year, but all he needs is another chance, like I got with Look Who's Talking. Much like I brought the pain in that fine film, Justin will show the NFL what a fool his college coaches were. By the way, all of my films are available on DVD. Do yourself a favor and get your Travolta collection started.

10. Unfortunately, there is no number ten. Mr. Travolta had to leave. It appears he was needed in a press junket for From Paris With Love, which I'm sure will be much like the rest of his movies, BURNING-YOUR-SOUL-AWFUL. Good luck to him as he keeps receiving movie scripts that will eventually result in him earning millions of more dollars while possessing less talent than those who drum on buckets in the streets for spare change.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

Ole Miss basketball team dominates, then keeps foot on accelerator in win over Tennessee.
Instead of winning a game against a team with only six scholarship players, the Rebels took an 11 point lead with about eight minutes left and slowly but steadily allowed Tennessee to come back and eventually win the game in overtime, mostly thanks to Ole Miss freely giving away the basketball and a lack of understanding who should eat first on offense (I should probably also mention rebounding, which will be a problem all year for Ole Miss, but shouldn't have been against a Vols team with not much more size than Ole Miss). I know it's hard to complain when you lose to a top ten team at their place, but it was a game in which Ole Miss should have won and really would have made up in the standings for the home loss to Mississippi State last week.

But what's so frustrating about this Ole Miss team (besides the occasional rampages of bad decisions by everyone on the team...WARNING: Ole Miss-only talk lies ahead. Feel free to skip down if you're easily bored and/or irritated with such talk.) is that it's mid-January and there are still players who don't understand their limitations and roles. For instance, Murphy Holloway is a scrappy, undersized, forward who is effort guy that can knock down a 15-ish foot jumper. He is not a guy who can take someone one-on-one. Yet, at least three times on Saturday, I watched as he tried unsuccessfully to beat a bigger Wayne Chism to the rim off the dribble. And it's not just this game, he's had this problem all year. He has to learn that as a smaller player being asked to play against bigger guys he can't be going at them by himself. His job is to rebound and get junk baskets when his man strays too far away. And he's not the only one currently lost.

Everyone needs to understand that Terrico White is the best player on the team. And by everyone, that includes Terrico White, who doesn't seem to get this. Whether it's his personality or he's confused about how he should play with Chris Warren, it needs to be jackhammered into his head that HE'S BETTER THAN EVERYONE THAT PLAYS WITH HIM. He should always eat first. Then Warren, followed by Zach Graham and Eniel Polynice, then those in the post. That is the hierarchy and everyone needs to commit it to memory. And making sure that happens is on Andy Kennedy. I think the easiest part will be keeping everyone in order, but the hardest part, and I'm not sure it will happen based on Terrico White's demeanor, is convincing White that, as a sophomore, he's the guy.

Rush Propst and Jeremy Pruitt get the band back together thanks to Nick Saban.
Almost. The former defensive coordinator under Propst at Hoover High School (and a man, thanks to the greatest show ever, Two-A-Days, that was discovered at one point in his life to be unsure what asparagus was), Pruitt was moved from director of player development at Alabama to a defensive coaching spot (most likely LBs coach). There in 2010, we can only hope and pray to hear an audio clip of him yelling at Dont'a Hightower that the reason Alabama is going to lose a game is because "Dont'a Hightower is a dumbass" (as he most famously yelled at Max Lerner during an episode of Two-A-Days).

As for Propst, the reunion tour will have to wait as he is currently coaching high school football in Georgia, and most certainly threatening to take away college scholarships for those who don't wear their socks properly in games.

Tennessee finds a football coach that sends a buzz of shock and awe through America.
Well, not quite, but I'm sure it was so through the Dooley household. Derek Dooley, owner of a 17-20 coaching record, was named the Tennessee head coach on Friday after everyone east and west of the Mississippi told the Vols thanks but no thanks. I, probably like everyone else (including Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton), know very little about Dooley. I can tell you that eight of this 17 wins at Louisiana Tech came in one season and he won an Independence Bowl (it's interesting that another final candidate, David Cutcliffe, was the King of the Independence Bowl, winning three in six years. Way to shoot for the stars, Tennessee) that same season. I saw about half of Tech's game against Boise State, a game in which they at least made Boise work. So what does that tell you? Nothing, other than expect another coaching search in three years.

What's that? Why, yes it was a slow weekend. Even the NFL games brought nothing to the table. But there's good news, only two weeks until the 2010 Pro Bowl.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Five for Friday

In an ongoing personal crusade to force myself to update this place as much as possible (hopefully every day), I have to create certain gimmicks that pair nicely with the corresponding day of the week. This way, I don't necessarily have to think of a new post idea, but just have to cram some content into the void. While this may not ensure quality (hey, assembly lines aren't perfect), it will ensure that five to ten minutes of your day are spent not doing whatever it is you should be doing. And who doesn't enjoy procrastination?

So every Friday, I plan on mentioning my five favorite stories of the week. And although the title sounds a little like that crappy band (and I'm sure this is being done by someone else, I conducted no research to find out), there are five days in the work week, I enjoy the alliteration of the title and a list of more than five will cause most to stop reading (if they haven't already done so). Behold, in no particular order, my five favorite stories from this week:

1. Lane Kiffin changes jobs and two regions of the country suffer meltdowns.
First, the entire Southeast was either crying tears of joy or tears of rage on Tuesday night when the news broke. If you are not a Tennessee fan, you rejoiced at the misfortune of a program that no one likes. And I mean NO ONE (In my opinion, Alabama and Tennessee are the two teams in the SEC that are hated by fans of every other school). If you are a Tennessee fan, you reeled in horror as you suddenly have no coach and no recruiting class just three weeks until signing day.

And second, Southern California watched as the head coach in charge of USC's rise to power left for the Seahawks only to be replaced by a coach who apparently has pictures of various school administrators (and even one NFL owner) abusing the elderly and taking part in the ethnic cleansing of various breeds puppies (there's really no other explanation). Also, that coach has not been a good head coach. If it's possible to cry tears of disbelief, USC fans did so on Tuesday night.

2. Ed Orgeron is no longer employed in the SEC.
This was a black day for college football in the South. Life without the Shrimp Boat Captain is going to be like life in Shawshank when Andy escaped to Mexico: drab. I suppose, while outrageously enjoyable for the rest of us, it was sort of a crime against Orgeron to lock him up under the microscope of SEC football. Someone with such little self-awareness should never be subjected to that. But I know we'll all sit around and laugh at some of the stuff he used to pull. Wild Boys, shirtless meetings, the Hummer commercial and an 0-8 season in the SEC. And, of course, the Red Bull. I know of no picture that symbolizes his leaving us better than this one:

3. David Cutcliffe nearly makes a return to the SEC to spread his gospel of mediocrity that eventually turns into suckiness.
After being turned down by every coach west of the Mississippi, Tennessee eventually zeroed in on the coach who truly believed Ethan Flatt was the next Eli Manning (Ethan Who you might ask, well, point proven). All indications were that he would become Tennessee's next coach as long as he agreed to some staff changes. UT wanted some old Kiffin assistants still trying to hold things together in Knoxville to be a part of Cutcliffe's staff. Cutcliffe did not agree with that and refused to make those changes, which resulted in the "withdrawing his name from consideration" story that broke this morning. So, if you're scoring at home, that's twice in about five years he's lost an SEC job because he refused to make changes to his staff. The media is calling it loyalty, but if you watched his sinking ship up close for six years like I did, it's called stubbornness.

4. Joe Cullen nearly makes a return to the SEC to spread his gospel of passing out in public places and nakedness while in fast-food drive-thru lines.
Mississippi State is in the market for a new defensive coordinator and defensive line coach after defensive coordinator Carl Torbush left for Kansas and some other defensive coach that I refuse to look up also left. Apparently, one of the candidates for the DL job was former Ole Miss assistant and lover of public drunkenness, Joe Cullen. Now, it appears Cullen will not be coming to Starkville, which is a relief to all of those working in dining establishments there.

If you recall, Cullen was fired from Ole Miss after passing out face first in a meatball sub at Subway (I may have made up the part about the meatball sub). Then, after somehow getting another job with the Detroit Lions, he ruins that by driving drunk and naked through a Wendy's drive-thru line and, incredibly, another drunk driving arrest about a week after that. It's a little disappointing he won't be coming back to the SEC where the pressures of being a coach could have taken his next display to a level that involved more nudity, streaking and KFC.

5. Mark McGwire blames the era of baseball for injecting himself with all sorts of ball-shrinkers.
I'm actually pretty impressed he could continuously say that the era demanded he cheat and the steroids he used to break the single-season home run record didn't help him hit those home runs. It's a different strategy than outright lying and, while unbelievably stupid, somewhat innovative. I think I'll use it when I gain an extra 100 pounds from eating at Chick-fil-A eight times day. The food didn't help me get fat, it was my lack of exercise. Idiot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coach's Diary: Lane Kiffin Edition

NOTE: I've been planning on doing this for the past few weeks, but thanks to the Lane Kiffin earthquake earlier tonight, it makes its debut now.

It's a little known fact that most coaches in every sport in every level of competition keep a diary. Here, they have a place where they can turn and reveal their innermost thoughts and reactions to both the smart and incredibly stupid things they do during the course of their job (We know they don't turn to their wives because she doesn't understand the complexities of sport, but a blank piece of paper sure does.). And, thanks to my stealthy skills in the field of breaking and entering, you, the reader, now have access to these innermost thoughts penned by some of the country's coaches.

7:35 PM

Dear Diary,

It worked again! I don't know if it's my brashness, boyish looks or the mesmerizing twinkle in my eyes, but teams just keep offering me jobs. Why, just yesterday, I was listening to Eddie O describing a competin', quick-footed defensive lineman that he found in a swamp outside of Chattanooga (don't worry, I sent some of our best girls to go check him out) when Jerry Jones called and asked me if I wanted to take over for Wade at the end of the year. It was so weird! I've only met Jerry once or twice and we just talked about Al Davis' immortality. Oh, and I just remembered, this morning I was at the grocery store (I do love my Apple Jacks) and ran into the manager and he even offered me a job as a stocker in the produce department (if he had said dairy I would have thought about it). I guess people just really like me.

Anyway, I told Jerry that I appreciated the offer, but I could not accept. I find that stadium a little pretentious. But I didn't tell him that. I just said dad didn't want to watch his Tampa 2 defense get destroyed once again in the NFL. And then, of course, today, USC told me I could have the keys to the Trojan football program. I know, I couldn't believe they didn't offer sooner. Did they not watch the second quarter of the Chick-fil-A Bowl? I was AWESOME. And seriously, Jack Del Rio? Dad can eat him in two bites. Well, gotta run. Need to go find one of my old USC ties to get ready for the press conference. And I suppose I need to get rid of all this orange that Layla hates so much. Oh, I should also probably buy a lottery ticket while I'm still in Tennessee. When you're hot, you're hot. Later.

P.S. I just know that Chip Kelly at Oregon is already trying to steal our recruits at USC. I'll show him.

P.S.S. I need to make time to go see that new Harrison Ford movie where he shouts, "I ALREADY WORK AROUND THE CLOCK!" Talk about dramatic. Can't wait to see it. I hope it's as good as Hollywood Homicide.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Power Is Back On

Using very large horses (I know little to nothing about horses and/or the different breeds so just imagine big ones with giant hooves), I was able to crush the public demonstration by my former hard drive's widgets and replace those lazy, non-working bastards with a new group, which, so far, have proven to be hard working and doing so at a fraction of the cost of the old ones. What that nonsense means is that the Beast is once again fully operational.

Since I last posted, Nick Saban had yet to murder the rest of the SEC West royal family and assume the title of Czar of said division for the foreseeable future, Pete Carroll had yet to make his return to the NFL (where he was 33-31 in 1994 and 1997-99) and flee the looming velvet hammer of NCAA justice given to major football programs and Eniel Polynice of Ole Miss hadn't decided to take 15 shots and make only three of them in a loss to Mississippi State on Saturday (Finally, a reference to basketball. My apologies to Andy Kennedy and the fine work he is doing despite being largely ignored by his own fans and the national media.). So, after all of that, expect some new stuff to go up this week. Right now though, I've got to read everything on the Internet that happened since last Wednesday and celebrate my crushing victory over the aforementioned hard drive widgets by burning down their village while sipping on a gentleman's drink as I watch the flames rage from hut to hut.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Four Horsemen of Laziness Rampaging Over the Beast

Just two short days ago I boldly claimed I'd be updating this blog three times a week. While I mentioned I would most certainly not keep to that rigorous schedule over time, I assumed it would be at least two weeks before my good intentions collapsed under the weight of my laziness. However, I am not to blame for the latest lack of posting. Last night, my trusty MacBook decided that it was tired of this world and elected to move on to a landfill in some remote area of Shelby County. In short (too late), the hard drive (and probably some other geeky parts of the computer) died, leaving me without a consistent way to connect to the faceless Internet community.

So, while I figure out what exactly I'm going to do to solve this problem, I would forecast posting here to be sporadic over the next week, which is unfortunate because I was looking forward to getting armpit deep in The Jersey Shore, or more commonly known as the greatest show of our time. Now, what this situation (an inadvertent reference the show) does let me know is that even when I attempt to be proactive and full of energy and initiative, the gods of laziness smite my attempts. Lesson learned.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

After closing out 2009 with a strong week of laziness and therefore a lack of posting, let's see if I can't get 2010 off to a little more industrious start. I know I've said this nothing short of 428 times, but it is my goal to post three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). That way you'll know when something new should be up and not curse at me as you find that it's now day four of you looking at the same post on here. Of course, we all know there's no way I can keep to that schedule given my high degree of sloth, but I'm at least making another failing effort.

Terrelle Pryor plays poorly; Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit weep.
23 of 37, 266 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
20 carries, 72 yards
Reading those stats, one might say that the player who produced those had a good game. A mediocre passing performance and a pretty good showing on the ground (for a quarterback). However, if you were to have watched this game, the announcers would have wanted you to believe that you were watching a transcendent performance. What you really saw was a true sophomore quarterback finally not screw a game up and play well in the process. Did he still do a handful of dumb things? Yes, but none of them were super dumb and destroyed any chance to win the game. So congratulations, Terrelle Pryor, you have finally achieved reached slightly beyond mediocre. I can't wait for the hype to start on your 2010 Heisman campaign and Ohio State's inevitable preseason number two ranking.

Also, I'm not sure, but Musburger and Herbstreit may have wept. So that could have actually happened.

Oh, and screw you, Oregon, for letting all this shit happen. The country had a good thing going in Ohio State's annual dismantling as they traveled outside the Big Ten and the state of Ohio.

Ole Miss and Oklahoma State produce the greatest college football game ever played.
Almost. 12 turnovers (six by OSU in the fourth quarter, which I'm pretty sure has never happened), two missed field goals, 16 penalties and two failed fourth and goal plays. Things were so bad that for 95% of the game Pat Summerall was NOT the worst thing about this game (Seriously, Fox, let's not dust off his corpse for another Cotton Bowl). Ole Miss showed some flashes of competency early, but those were quickly wiped out by Jevan Snead being Jevan Snead (interceptions, overthrows and a general state of panic). And Oklahoma State never really showed much of anything, except providing a clinic on out-sucking the opponent's suckiness and being the dominant one in an orgy of turnovers.

Many Ole Miss fans (including myself) finally got their wish to see Nathan Stanley get some significant playing time and, upon receiving that wish, immediately regretted that wish. Clueless would be a generous description of his field presence. But despite the incompetency raging in every direction, it was a win for Ole Miss and it'll be a cold day in hell before I ever complain about back-to-back nine-win seasons and an 18-8 record in that span.

Also, Shay Hodge and I are no longer taking applications for the third bedroom in our apartment. That spot has been filled by Dexter McCluster.

East Carolina's 41-year old, 290 pound kicker wins the Liberty Bowl MVP.
Well, I guess technically he may have won it from Arkansas fans. The portly, middle-aged looking kicker pulled a "1998 Donald Juneau at Alabama" and was 1 for 5 on field goal attempts, missing two in the last 2:41 in the fourth quarter and one in overtime. In his defense, it was unbearably cold here in Memphis Saturday night and allegedly that makes it hard to kick. A few other things that make it hard to kick include pressure, sunlight, grass, blue skies, cloudy skies, yelling, general noise, the presence of people, oxygen and Dan Marino.

Auburn displays proper pass defense technique.
Northwestern's Mike Kafka, looking like B.J. Symons against Ole Miss' 4-2-5 defense in 2003, was 47 of 78 for 532 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, he is Mike Kafka and also threw five picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown. This game was a lot like the Ole Miss/Oklahoma State game. We were treated to 10 turnovers, 15 penalties, two missed field goals and a missed extra point. Yep, pretty much the same. Well, except for all the scoring and excitement instead of little scoring and blank stares at what was allegedly a college football game taking place.

The Capital One Bowl provides an outstanding field for two potent offenses.
It's probably unfair to Penn State lump their offense in the same category as LSU's. So we'll label the Nittany Lions as "struggling" and the Tigers as "abysmal." Speaking of struggling and abysmal, the field of the Florida Citrus Bowl deserves a pat on the back for dragging both offenses down a notch or two. After hosting high school championship games, the Miami/Wisconsin game, a rodeo, a sheep showing event, a demolition derby and a reenactment of the Battle of Carthage all in the span of about eight days, the turf didn't quite hold up for large men running around at high speeds. And it's a shame because if this game had seen perfect field conditions, I'm sure we would have seen each offense pound out at least another field goal.

Ed Orgeron's defensive line slows down Virginia Tech.
Let's not lay it all on the Shrimp Boat Captain, so welcome to the party Monte Kiffin! The Tennessee defense gave up 229 yards on the ground (438 total) and rang in the New Year with great disdain for tackling and a supportive role in making Tyrod Taylor look like a competent quarterback. I suppose I should mention the fine work of Lane Kiffin's offense, which pounded out FIVE rushing yards on 31 carries. It was quite the New Year's Eve.

South Carolina, pleased to be in Birmingham, puts on an inspired performance.
205 total yards and one touchdown scored with 3:24 to go in the game. We're about to start year six of the Steve Spurrier era and showings like this are still going on. I know no one at South Carolina gave a rat's ass about playing in the freezing cold at old, dumpy Legion Field, but how is it not possible to give at least 20% effort?