Monday, February 28, 2011

The Reach of Melvin Smith Is Not Bound By International Borders

Recruiting specialist Melvin Smith, currently employed by Mississippi State, knows his way around the dark alleys, secret passages and which dumpsters are perfect for jumping into to avoid detection during the recruiting process.  He's been a part of four staffs within the state of Mississippi in which the head coaches were fired for either major recruiting violations or being awful.

He was at Ole Miss in the final years of the Billy Brewer era ('92-'93), the only year of the Joe Lee Dunn Experience in '94, which, NEVER HAPPENED, spent six years with Jackie Sherrill ('96-'01) and was with Sylvester Croom before transitioning to Dan Mullen's staff after Croom's Crooming.  Having never risen above a position coach in 19 years at the Division I level, Smith hasn't been constantly employed because he knows how to coach the hell out of receivers, DBs or tight ends, but, rather, because he knows the ways and means to get recruits his head coach wants to choose to sign with his employer.

However, this past recruiting season, Mississippi State struggled in overall and in-state recruiting, despite a 9-4 record and a second straight thrashing of Ole Miss.  Smith, perhaps recognizing his need to step up his efforts, has apparently turned his eyes beyond the borders of America.  More specifically, he's trying to tap into high-volume, energy and anger of protesters in Africa and the Middle East.

How else do you explain this from a protest in Libya:

See that man just to the right of the weather map?  What's that he's wearing?


Case closed, NCAA investigators.

(Both pictures blatantly stolen from EDSBS)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not a Good Start to 2011. NOT A GOOD START AT ALL.

Via the Twitters of Ole Miss' undersized, quick, but not too quick, RB/WR Korvic Neat

While I certainly appreciate Houston Nutt's recognition of the need to and effort put into lighting a fire under his team and coaches, it's once again the attention to detail and doing it the right way that has failed Ole Miss.

-Nothing screams motivation quite like a banner stand that reminds you of being at a convention or job fair.

-The kind where you get pencils and a sheet of cheap 8.5" X 11" paper on which a company says all of the awesome things about themselves that you'll never get to experience because they aren't going to hire you, but leave your resume on the table anyway so we can laugh about it later.

-Was putting it on the wall not an option?

-Really, free-standing was the best choice?

-In the words of the great Kenny Powers, "What the hell are they doing, printing that from a JPEG?  They need to be using TIFF files.  The trophy looks all computery and damn pixelated."

-I don't even want to open the possibility of getting lost in the deep forest of the how does one win the "off season" debate.

-It's "offseason" or "off-season," not "off (SPACE) season."


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Commentary: The OBC on the OBC

A Photoshop magician would have you believe that Steve Spurrier spent his weekend watching the Daytona 500 shirtless and drinking Coors (and not even the light stuff, but the banquet beer!).  It's possible he or she could be right, but might I remind you of Spurrier's commitment to not looking like Phil Fulmer.  It's also possible that spending four months with Stephen Garcia can drive a man to depths previously unknown, which would explain the letting oneself go in which the Ball Coach may have engaged.  To set the record straight, the man himself, Steve Spurrier, is here to discuss his weekend. Take it away, coach.

"Well, you know, it's been an interesting day.  I guess I started getting, you know, text messages early this morning telling me I wasn't wearing a shirt on some website.  Then my wife called while I was over at the putting green and told me they said I was drinking beer at the Daytona 500 and not wearing a shirt.  And I believe they said it was Coors that I was drinking.  Now, I know many of you out there know me and you know there's no way I'm drinking Coors. 

"Stopped drinking Coors when I found out that's what Doug Johnson drank the entire summer when we were down at Florida.  He laid around the pool all one summer, chasing girls and drinking Coors.  If you remember how Doug did that year, you'd never touch that stuff again. 

"Besides, what am I, poor?  If I'm drinking a little beer with a little sunshine on my face, I'm sticking to the Rolling Rock.  Maybe toss in a few Heinekens.  Like I always said, you know, you can't spell poor without part of Coors.  Or something like that.  That joke may have worked better with Citrus and UT.  But, same idea.

"As for me being at Daytona, let me ask you something.  If it's 75 degrees, sunny and a chance for no clouds, where do you think I'm gonna be?  Huh?  I'll let you in on a little secret.  It ain't at some racetrack with all that racket and Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee fans.  I'm on the course, trying to squeeze in 36, depending on how my back feels.  That, and the Columbia police report from Saturday night.

"So I don't know how this picture got made, hell, I haven't even seen it.  But as for being at the Daytona 500, I was not there.  Actually never been.  Heard it's a good time, you know, with the crowds and the speed and everything.  I got talked into one time going down and doing the Richard Petty thing.  You know, where you get in the car and drive around the track.  Went about 150.  Not as fast as I'd have liked, but, you know, that's their thing down there.  So I just did what they said I could do.

"I did set the course record.  Even kept the steering wheel.  Not sure if I was supposed to do that, but I thought I needed to keep a reminder.  I put it up in my office, right next to the picture of me and Stephen sitting in the sun in the infield at Darlington."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Last Raid of the Newest Red Raider

Tommy Tuberville knows his snakeskins.

"These," he says, pointing to his cowboy boots propped up on his desk, "Are tree vipers.  They like to eat birds.  I got them when I traded Daniel Cobb and some cash to this fella down in Panama.  Supposed to be the best boot maker in the Western Hemisphere.  He actually goes out into the jungle and catches the damn snakes himself.  True story."

As he pauses to reflect on the story, or maybe what happened to former Auburn quarterback Daniel Cobb, he lights one of his famous victory cigars with what appears to be a $100 bill.

"See this," he says, gesturing at the burning bill, "a $127 bill.  No one even knows about them yet.  Talked the guy at the US Mint into making them.  Right now, the only place that will accept them is Walmart because, you know, Walmart will accept anything.  But they'll be here soon.  Just wait."

Tuberville, 56, is preparing to begin spring practice and his second season at Texas Tech University where he took over for the popular, yet, by conventional coaching standards, odd Mike Leach.  Though Tuberville guided the Red Raiders to an 8-5 season and a win in the Ticket City Bowl, the 2010 season was largely viewed as a disappointment.  The team he inherited returned 15 starters, including senior quarterbacks Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield, both of whom saw significant playing time in Leach's final season, yet the team finished with a worse record than in 2009. 

"Mike did a great job here before we got here.  He set the bar really high for us.  And it's our job to set a new bar for the next guy.  We're here to win championships and if we don't, they'll find someone else.  It was unfortunate how things ended here for Mike, but the coaching business doesn't make a lot of sense sometimes.  Chocolate covered butterfly?," he asks extending a silver box.

No stranger to controversy, Tuberville's last two coaching stops ended with outrage and fans choosing sides.  His first head coaching job at Ole Miss came to a close after the final regular season game of the 1998 season when he bolted in a middle-of-the-night fashion for more money and prestige at Auburn.  That departure came just days after saying the only way he'd leave Oxford was "in a pine box."  Predictably, Ole Miss fans were beyond furious and would let him know about it for years to come.

At Auburn, despite enjoying one of the most successful runs in school history, including a 7-3 record against Alabama, he was never fully accepted by the people who run things at Auburn.  They wanted it done their way and he wanted it done his way.  Being of the stubborn stock and with the victories to support his decisions, he did it his way.

He survived a coup attempt of sorts in 2003 when Auburn's president, athletic director and a prominent booster secretly flew to gauge the interest of then-Louisville coach Bobby Petrino in the Auburn head coaching job, while Tuberville was under contract.  But he was eventually forced out following the 2008 season and a 5-7 record.  Some Auburn fans believed their school had wronged the man who had owned Alabama, while others were convinced Tuberville had lost his magic and would soon be surpassed by the then-recently hired Nick Saban at Alabama.

"No one should feel sorry for me, did you see how much they gave me to go away?  It was like 20 million in Arkansas dollars.  Hell, I had so much sitting around at the house, I bought all of Mike's pirate stuff and set it up in my garage.  Creeps me out.  But I go in there once a week because being creeped out keeps me on edge and you gotta have that edge to be good in this game."

As he gears up for spring practice, which starts this week, Tuberville finds himself in yet another storm cloud, albeit, a small one that no one outside of Texas Tech, or perhaps even people at Texas Tech, cares about.  This time, it's not standoff with a Bobby Lowder-like booster or spineless AD like David Housel, but with the hulking form of the Texas Tech Human Sciences department and professor Julian Spallholz.

Last week, at a faculty senate meeting, Spallholz was among several faculty members who questioned Texas Tech's decision to give Tuberville a $500,000 raise in the midst of budget cuts in the academic areas of the university.

"If that was me, I would have turned it down.  I would have been embarrassed," Spallholz said.

"Oh, yeah, I heard about that," he says while puffing away on his cigar, then letting out a James Bond villain cackle.  "Let me ask this, how much money does the Human Science department bring in?  How much recognition does the Human Sciences department bring to the university?  Did the Human Sciences department beat Missouri on national TV?

"Look, if these people want a street fight, I can give them a street fight.  Anyone remember Arkansas in 2003?  10-3.  Arkansas in 2007?  9-7.  Or how about Tennessee in '08?  14-12.  People literally burned their eyes out with hot pokers just so they wouldn't have to watch.  Hell, inside the stadium, we had people jumping off the top row just so they never had to see Chris Todd try to throw a pass again.  These Human Science people aren't equipped for swinging away at one another with a 1/8-inch piece of plywood for three hours.  That's the only way I know how to fight.  It's not pretty to watch, or particularly fun, but dammit, we win."

And with that, Tuberville gives a dismissive wave of the hand. Questions remain about Tuberville's commitment to the aerial assault that put the school on the college football map.  In 2010, the Red Raiders rushed over 100 more times than they did in 2009 and over 200 more times than they did in 2007.  Publicly, Tuberville has said his staff will remain committed to the system that best suits their personnel.  But those who know Tuberville are aware of his disdain for what he calls "offensive fancypants."

But before he answers those questions in the 2011 season, he's digging in his heels against the Human Sciences department. 

"We're about to give those boys a good ol' fashioned country ass-whuppin," he says with a laugh.  "One gentle swat at a time."

He may be at the last stop in his coaching career, but Tommy Tuberville isn't done upsetting people or fighting.  He's got a pair of snakeskins for every ass he's kicked and a new pair for every ass he's about to kick.

Also, just so we're clear, 99.9999% of this is made-up.  You never know with some people.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aaron Murray Is NOT Awaiting Ankle Transplant Surgery

Since it's Presidents' Day and nothing is going on (minus some blow-harding about baseball on one of the ESPN family of networks), the corner of the Internet concerning college football nearly ruptured a blood vessel earlier today when reports of starting Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray breaking his ankle began to make their way around the neighborhood.  Those reports have now been downgraded to Tropical Depression Ankle Sprain and it appears Murray will not miss any part of spring practice.

Georgia fans should rest a little easier tonight knowing that Murray is okay, but should have never been concerned in the first place.  If you recall, Murray is a survivor of an attempt to snap his spinal column in half, as well as a separate attempt to destroy every ligament in his knee, courtesy of Nick Fairley.

So I highly doubt a shattered ankle was really going to slow him down.  Now, if Lee Ziemba had been able to play some defense last fall, this ankle injury never would have occurred because Murray would still be in a wheelchair.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Revenge of Auburn University as Shown to Me by an Anonymous Sports God

As I slept soundly, I suddenly felt a great presence in my room and awoke to find the ceiling of my room separating itself from the four walls, and I could see nothing but the night sky.  And a loud voice boomed to me, "Gray, do you want to see something really awesome?"

I said, "Okay, but how awesome are we talking about?"

The voice boomed again, "Like, blow your mind awesome."

"Yes, I would like to see something that awesome."

"Then, BEHOLD! The revenge of Auburn University!"

And the sky began to fill with images, telling a story of things to come. At first I saw men in orange pants

And crazed people with painted bodies

And scores and scores of more people wearing orange

They were being led by this man, a maniac screaming and yelling with no particular purpose or direction

At first, I thought them to be cheering and celebrating. But I realized they were furious. Furious with intent to destroy the thing that had wronged them. Soon, many began wielding these

And this man was also in the great multitude

They argued over the direction of the march. Many shouted "To the North!," while others claimed it was more in a northwest direction. Eventually, the crazed maniac who was leading them confirmed it was to the northwest and that he had packed a compass so they probably wouldn't get lost. To be sure, he used Google Maps and found the exact directions.

And soon they were off. A new image appeared before me, one unrelated to the angry crowd. I soon realized it was what they were marching towards. It was a statue of a man standing by himself. A great man, according to the inscriptions, but he was in danger, for he was all alone

Then, before me, the fuming multitude had arrived at the target of their rage, and the sky grew dark and cracked open

The world had not seen such violence as what I saw in the sky. It was pure horror. And when they had finished their work, a final image appeared. It was the crazed man, who led the crowd to the statue of the great man, and he was celebrating the spoils of his conquest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Dusting of Basketball? Surely You Jest

Now that I've reached the acceptance phase of life without college football for the next seven months, I suppose it's time that I publicly acknowledge the existence of college basketball.  Though choppy and at times boring and unwatchable (hello there, Auburn vs. Ole Miss, tonight at 7 PM), it's one of the few crutches I have until September.  Interestingly enough, the end of college basketball is much more depressing than it should be.  Probably because it ends with the Tournament, which is one of the great sporting events in the world (HOW DARE COLLEGE FOOTBALL EVER CONSIDER SOMETHING AWESOME LIKE THIS), but mainly because as soon as the Tournament is over, baseball starts, and the real march across the burned, barren landscape of no football begins.

So, with that pleasant thought in mind, let us lightly skim what has happened and, staring deeply into one of those snow globe things since a real crystal ball is too hard to find, guess what could happen.

These Appear to Be Teams Better Than Everyone Else
Ohio State

I've taken time out of my extremely busy schedule to watch all four play and would have to put Ohio State and Texas above the other two.  Both boast a successful blend of size, athleticism and people who were put on Earth to play basketball.  Duke is Duke and will always struggle against athletic teams and Kansas, well, just remember that when the final seconds are ticking off the clock in another NCAA Tournament loss to a team from the Patriot League in the first weekend of games, you should have known better than to pick them.

They Have a Basketball Team?
San Diego State

And it's 25-1.  And they're doing it without Marshall Faulk's son, who, if he exists, doesn't play for the Aztecs.  In full disclosure, I have no idea if he's on the team (or exists) because I did not take the time to check the roster.

The Basketball Gods, in Fact, Hate the Game of Basketball

Guess what?  They're still churning out 57-48 victories (minus their high-octane shootout with Ohio State, which they won, 71-67) and will be a fairly high seed come NCAA Tournament time.  So someone's favorite team will be forced to have zero fun during the Tournament as long as the Badgers remain alive.  Watching a Wisconsin basketball game is somehow worse than watching two SEC West teams fight to the death with those large, inflatable crayons you can win at the fair.

I Remember When You Were Once Dominant
North Carolina

They can't walk in a pummel teams like they once did, but they've got enough talent to beat just about anybody.  And they can also lose to just about anybody, as losses to Oregon State, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech and Seton Hall indicate.  When filling out my bracket, I will become convinced one of them will make a deep run in the Tournament, choose that team, watch them lose in the first round and fume with rage as the others win two or three games.

Wow, Look at All Those White People
Utah State

Combined record:  47-5.  BYU's Jimmer Fredette is this year's rage in college basketball, mostly due to his ability to average 27.3 points a game and shoot shots you only see taken in YMCAs or student rec centers, and make them.  Here's to hoping his college career doesn't end with a massive collapse in the final minute, leaving him crying on the court, like the last white guy to lead the nation in scoring

Our Next Category Will Be Described by Nelson

South Carolina

Auburn trailed LSU 32-6 at halftime in a game earlier this year, while South Carolina was losing 28-9 to Georgia at halftime in a game last week.

I Immediately Regret This Decision
Mississippi State

Bulldog coach Rick Stansbury essentially murdered his team's season and probably his career at Mississippi State by catering to the reinstatement of standout talent Renardo Sydney. Stansbury shifted his schedule around, forcing the Bulldogs to play something like 12 games in seven hours in three different time zones. Don't ask me how that works, I just know you gain an hour when you move west.

Not only were the Bulldogs beaten in most of those games, they managed to fight each other, make things exciting on Twitter for a few days and obliterate any shot of earning an at-large birth in the Tournament. The good news is Sydney has destroyed any shot at getting drafted and could be back for round two next year!

Please, Let It End
Ole Miss

One of the more unwatchable teams I've ever seen. And that's counting the Rod Barnes era*, where three, four and five conference wins per year were the norm.

*I do not want Rod Barnes anywhere near a basketball team I am obligated to support.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Dare You, Urban Meyer

The scene opens inside a cabin buried deep in the woods of western Pontotoc County, Mississippi.  The cabin is elaborately furnished, filled with every modern convenience, expensive liquor, cheap beer and a picture of the late Charley Pell hanging above the fireplace.  No one knows for sure, but according to black helicopter-spotting Mississippi State fans, the cabin is owned by a banker from Indianola and is used by Ole Miss to entertain and corrupt high school football recruits.

Billy Brewer and Mike DuBose speak in hushed voices in front of the fire about redneck related matters, Phil Fulmer sips a drink while staring out one of the windows into the black night and Jackie Sherrill prepares a cheese tray in the kitchen.

Brewer:  So then I said, you sumbitch, Turner, I'll fight this like a hog caught in a grease fire with no way out but a hole big enough for an armadillo.

DuBose:  You sure as hell did not, did you?

Brewer:  You bet your damn ass I did.  Boy turned white as Phil's upper thighs.

Sherrill enters the room carrying the cheese tray and sets it on the table.

Sherrill:  Where in the hell is Pat?  He's late.  You gave him the directions didn't you, Phil?  The directions that did not take him by the liquor store?

Fulmer:  Yeah, but you know Pat, he was probably out running errands for Lowder and lost track of time.

DuBose:  I say we get started without him.  I'd like to get in a possum hunt before this buzz wears off.

Sherrill:  You could just keep drinking to maintain that buzz.

Brewer:  Nah, nah, Jackie.  Once you reach that optimum level of good feelin', you got to go hunt then.  Makes it just right.

DuBose:  Exactly.

Sherrill:  Alright then, we'll get started.  Phil, you want to go first.

Fulmer:  Sure.  As I'm sure you're all aware, we called this meeting because of something Urban Meyer said the other day.  Now, I know Urban a little bit, think he's a pretty sharp guy, but never thought he'd be one to try to drag our name down with a bunch of amateurs.

Brewer:  What exactly did he say?

Sherrill:  He hinted that the coaching profession in college football today is filled with outlaws.

Brewer:  The hell with him.  Outlaws?  Outrageous.  Nothing but a bunch of nickel and dimers out there now.

Sherrill:  Couldn't agree more.  He's stained our work by throwing them in with us.  Has Gene Chizik ever funded 18 separate churches at the same time, recruited an entire defensive line from the maintenance crew of a roller skating rink or single-handedly kept five hotels in Starkville in business?

DuBose:  I don't think he even knows how to work high school coaches.

Fulmer:  It's insulting is what it is.  Why, there was a time when I could...

A loud crash is heard outside, followed by a car door slamming shut.  Footsteps thump across the porch and the front door swings open.  Pat Dye enters the house, carrying a half-empty bottle of George Dickel and wearing no pants.

Dye:  Fellas.

Sherrill:  Pat.

Fulmer:  Pat.

Brewer:  Pat, where in the hell are your pants?

Dye:  Left them by the pond when I fell out of the canoe.

DuBose:  What pond?

Dye:  The pond.

Fulmer:  Near here?

Dye:  The one near the trees and stuff.

Fulmer:  Pat, we may need to talk.

Sherrill:  Phil, you can have that talk later.  We've got some business at hand.  Have you heard, Pat?

Dye:  Just got done talking with Finebaum about it.

Fulmer:  What did that bald bastard say?

Dye:  Not sure.

Fulmer:  Not sure?

Dye:  Phil, I don't hear a damn word that man says.  Haven't since 1999.  He talks, then I talk.  Got it all written down on a napkin.  Then I talk about the hearing aids.  Speaking of, did you know that 65% of all Americans will lose or partially lose their hearing by the time...

Sherrill:  Pat, let's stay on point here.  And Mike, can you get Pat blanket, his bare manparts are really creeping me out now.

DuBose hands Dye a burlap sack.

Fulmer:  As Jackie was saying, we've got to let Urban know we don't appreciate his comments.  In fact, we need to make sure he recants and acknowledges those who have far surpassed what's going on today.

Brewer:  Well, hell, Phil, maybe the boy knows what he's talking about.  He did have 30 players get arrested in five years.

Fulmer:  You know how many players I had get arrested under my watch?  379.  You know how many the media found out about?  A whole lot less than that.  Don't tell me he knows what he's saying.

Brewer:  My mistake.  Hell, we just had the cops drop 'em off at their dorm rooms.  All we had to do was promise to take them to the strip clubs when we took the recruits.

Sherrill:  Genius.  Never even thought of that.  I'll have to call Melvin and let him know to try that one next year.  I'm sure Dan will give it the green light.

DuBose:  Boys, we need to make a decision.  Those possums aren't going to shoot themselves.  Though if they got ornery enough, they might.

Dye:  Still possum hunting, Mike?

DuBose:  No greater thrill.  Well, there was that thing in my office with that secretary.

Fulmer:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  No more of that.  I have my dreams tonight to be concerned about.

Brewer:  I say we send Urban a new Pontiac with $2500 stuffed in the glove compartment.

Dye:  Are Pontiacs still in style?

DuBose:  Ford makes a hell of a sedan.

Sherrill:  We're not sending him a car.  Too easy to trace.  Plus, it's kind of a pain to get the thing registered in an uncle's name, and with all the insurance regulations, I'm not sure it's worth it.

Fulmer:  What about a garbage bag full of cash?

Sherrill:  How about we buy his preacher a new house, car and library for the church?  Don't need a real name for the donation, just a check that clears.

Dye:  No, no, no.  We'll need a secret bank account he can use anytime he needs cash.  I know just the bank we can use.

DuBose:  I think it's a mistake not to involve a Ford.

Brewer:  What about a Chevy?

Fulmer:  American cars are out, okay?  He's from one of those Yankee places, not from around here.

DuBose:  Now, see here Phil....

Arguing commences and takes place for the next six hours.  Finally, just after 2 AM, a compromise is reached.

Sherrill:  Alright, that settles it.  We're sending him a nasty and indignant letter, signed by all of us, demanding he recognize our unprecedented and unmatched work in the shadowy world of college football recruiting, plus a Golden Corral gift certificate-

Dubose:  That was a nice touch, Phil.

Sherrill:  -and a lease of his choice at any Wade Raulerson dealership in the greater Gainesville area.  Agreed?

All:  Agreed.

Sherrill:  Very good then.  Phil, if you'll draft the letter, I'll talk to my dealership guy and we'll nail down the details.  Pat, we need you....where did your burlap sack go?

Dye:  Lost it down by the pond.

Sherrill:  What pond?

Dye:  The one with the trees and stuff.

Sherrill:  I don't even remember you going outside.

Brewer:  He slipped out when you and Phil were arguing about Melvin and Trooper.  But I don't know where he found that conductor's hat.

Sherrill:  How far I have fallen.

DuBose:  Alright, boys, let's sign this sucker so I can get out of here.

Dye:  Can I go with you?

DuBose:  Only if you give me that conductor's hat and hold the flashlight.

Dye:  Done.

Dye hands him the hat and gets a flashlight from the cabinet.  DuBose puts on the hat and picks up his shotgun by the door.

DuBose:  Let's go, Pat.  See you boys on the other side.

A period of silence follows.

Brewer:  Is he going to shoot Pat?

Fulmer:  I don't think so.  He really hates holding that flashlight while trying to shoot.

Sherrill:  I hope they stay away from that pond.

More silence as all three men ponder the possibilities of DuBose and/or Dye returning to the cabin naked.

Fulmer:  Y'all wanna call Slive, pretend like we're Roy Kramer and see what we can get him to do?

Sherrill:  I'm already dialing.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Important Phone Calls Steve Spurrier Has Taken on the Tee Box

Earlier today, All-Wreck-Your-Offensive-Scheme high school defensive end Jadeveon Clowney finally made his college choice when he announced that he would be signing with South Carolina.  It was a major victory in an in-state recruiting battle, as the Gamecocks managed to hold off Clemson, as well as an SEC battle thanks to a strong effort by Alabama.

When Clowney informed South Carolina coaches he would be choosing their employer, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson immediately phoned head coach Steve Spurrier, who was moments away from getting in a last round at Augusta before it's closed to prepare for The Masters.  It wasn't the first time Spurrier has taken an important call on the tee box, given his passion for playing golf when time allows.  Or doesn't allow.  Either one.  He's going to play unless he has a thing, or one of those alumni deals.  You know, with the boosters and all that.

Some other things of note he's learned while on the course:

-Tommy Frazier and Lawrence Phillips could be a threat to his defense (this produced a chuckle and a snort, followed by a lecture on pitchin' and catchin' it)

-The 1995 season was only Danny Wuerffel's junior year (shot a 67)

-His attempt to copyright "We're just gonna throw it around a little bit and see what happens" was denied

-Doug Johnson fully intended on playing two more seasons after the '97 season (shot a 78)

-The kidnapping and smuggling of Doug Johnson to Bolivia failed (shot an 82)

-As long as he made the turn by 11:45, he could get in another 18 that day (and yes, his Diet Coke and Snickers bar would be waiting on him)

-The Redskins were willing to meet his demands of having every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon off

-Phil Fulmer was having an excellent time without him in the conference

-The signed game ball from the 1995 Florida/Tennessee game was mistakenly delivered to Fulmer's neighbor's house

-South Carolina agreed to not require him to be the office February through July (minus two weeks for spring practice)

-Phil Fulmer threw the game ball from the 2005 South Carolina/Tennessee game back at the UPS man's truck

-Star high school quarterback Stephen Garcia committed to the Gamecocks (shot a 68)

-He double booked tee times during the SEC Coaches' Meetings in Destin

-Blake Mitchell was returning for another round of punishment

-Stephen Garcia would not be kicked out of school for keying a professor's car (shot a 71)

-Phil Fulmer threw the vase full of flowers wishing him a happy retirement at the UPS man's truck (shot a 65)

-The asking price for the services of Cam Newton

-The gameplan for the SEC Championship game

-Stephen Garcia was only a redshirt junior and returning to school (shot a 104)

Per the Usual on This Very Day

Happy Made-Up-By-a-Corporation-Looking-for-Any-Way-to-Make-More-Money Day. And it's true, I love each and every one of you. Well, more like a smattering of you. Or maybe none at all. But, you'll never know which, so assume you are loved.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cam Newton's Phenomenalness and Non-Phenomenalness

Since it was Thursday and he had nothing better going on (or so I assume), Cam Newton held a workout in which members of the media were invited to come watch him run around a football field and throw passes to receivers who also had nothing going on today.  ESPN's Trent Dilfer was among the group of middle-aged men who made the trip to San Diego because it's San Diego and why wouldn't you go to San Diego if expenses were paid and declared Newton's performance during the workout to be "phenomenal."

Taking some of Dilfer's observations mixed with some of my own, here's an easy-to-read, two-column breakdown of what is and isn't phenomenal about Cam Newton.

-Arm strength
-Mega size
-Strength to lift a car over his head and outrun you while not releasing the car
-Shoulders broad enough to carry both Gene Chizik and Ted Roof
-Looks like he belongs in the National Football League (repeat again in Merril Hoge voice)
-Pocket presence
-Caused a screeching halt of workdays across the South when news of his pay-for-play scandal broke
-This alone should be sufficient evidence:


Oh, and Brett Favre helped him pick his agent and will help him prepare for the NFL Draft.


/rage vomits on everything in sight

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ryan Mallett Becomes the Latest Victim of NFL Draft People Not Employed by the NFL

Despite not having played a single game or participated in any sort of pro day since the end of Arkansas' season, NFL Draft experts, which is as loose of an interpretation of a word since Wayne Gretzky's wife called herself an actress, have determined that Ryan Mallett's draft stock is falling as we near the upcoming draft.  Citing the mystical and dark world of "baggage," these gentlemen have predicted that Mallett will not be drafted in the first round and could fall as far as the third round.

Surely the "baggage" to which they are referring is not just his arrest for public intoxication nearly two years ago, but something that is yet to become public knowledge, like he once beat a hobo senseless with a rusty oil drum lid, then threw the unconscious hobo's handkerchief full of possessions 55 yards on a rope for the perfect pass on a deep post route.  Because I'd hate to see someone lose millions based on one arrest for being a stupid college student and not based on the idea that the Drew Bledsoe type of quarterback may not work in the NFL anymore.

Or could this predicted plummet be related to Mallett's look he displayed last spring?  Was his La Tigre not La Tigre enough?

His Ferrari too Ferrari?

His Blue Steel neither properly Blue nor Steel?

Was his Magnum incapable of stopping an errant throw from clipping Mike Slive's forehead?

Could this all be yet another giant conspiracy to destroy Arkansas in which people in and around the NFL are now involved?  Does Roger Goodell secretly hate Bobby Petrino (of course, not; he publicly hates him like everyone else)?  HOW MUCH DID HOUSTON NUTT PAY THESE PEOPLE TO DESTROY THE GOOD NAME OF RYAN MALLETT BECAUSE YOU KNOW HE DID*.

*The sound you just heard was the noise of 27,293 Freedom of Information Acts being simultaneously filed to review Houston Nutt's phone calls and text messages to anyone with a number outside the state of Mississippi.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Houston Nutt Meets, Then Briefly Frightens Snoop Dogg

Houston Nutt was in Memphis last night, most likely looking to help those who needed heppin', assuming they are above average football talents, and took time out of his schedule to watch the Lakers defeat the hometown Grizzlies, 93-84.  While at the FedEx Forum, he let the world of Twitters know about his trip:

I don't know if he actually got to meet Snoop Dogg, as he may not have wanted to be a complete name-dropper, but he did and it went something like this:

Minus the microphone and slurred speech (nakedness, however, remained in play, but was not used). But you would need to add at least 17 uses of the words "awesome" and "excited" to get the full effect of their meeting. Might even need to throw in a "Boy, I'll tell ya, great mother of that Snoop de-la-Loop."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Just When I Thought You Couldn't Possibly Be Any Dumber, You Go and Do Something Like This...

...and totally redeem yourself, Desmond Howard!

Though the story attempted to get lost in the weekend mix, it's impossible to hide an enraged Phil Simms because no one has never heard Simms' voice above a moderately concerned level. "Whay-el, Gee-yum, I don't think Tom Brady me-yent to throw that ball they-ure" is about as critical and upset as you'll ever hear Simms. It has to do with a blood oath signed by all major network announcers and analysts of professional sports in which they agree to never say anything critical or of value and sustenance in exchange for never being replaced, ever (So if you were to have kid tomorrow, that child would know nothing but Joe Buck and Troy Aikman until he or she reached the age of 25 or 30).

As reported on Saturday, Phil Simms ran into ESPN's Desmond Howard at a Super Bowl function, and wanted to do to him what every Ohio State fan and person who has seen Howard speak into a camera have always wanted to do: pummel him with fists of rage. Unlike the rest of America, who doesn't like Howard because he is bad at his job, Simms was upset over comments Howard made about Matt Simms, one-time starting quarterback for Tennessee and son of Simms.

While previewing the Tennessee/LSU game in the fall, Howard said that viewers would be watching three of the worst quarterbacks in the SEC in Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee and Matt Simms (How correct he was!). According to some tweets by Howard, here's how the confrontation went down:
At NFL-Xperience and Phil Simms just threatened 2 hit me b/c I said his son was 1 of the worse [sic] QBs in the SEC. I told him "LET'S GO!" … I am DEAD serious about the Phil Simms thing. We all thought he was joking, but he kept going and said he wanted 2 take a swing at me!! … During the season we talked about the Tenn v LSU game and I said "u will see 3 of the worse [sic] QBs in the SEC" That's what Phil did not like. … It ended w/ police stepping in between so I could continue my appearance w/ fans.
Simms' version of the events was slightly different, most notably the part about him wanting to throw down fisticuffs:
"Desmond and I were having a private conversation that became heated. But at no time was there ever a chance of any physical confrontation, or that I felt the police officer assigned to me by the event planners for my appearance needed to separate the two of us."
I'm certainly no fan of Desmond Howard, but anytime someone can offer basic, critical commentary totally rooted in fact and statistical evidence, and cause a trained, professional NFL analyst to, for lack of more perfect descriptor, flip his shit, consider me impressed and delighted.  However, the really upsetting part of this story is Chris Simms' unheard cries of WHERE WERE YOU, DAD, WHEN I WAS GETTING NATIONALLY SKEWERED AND FILLETED FOR FALLING TO PIECES IN EVERY IMPORTANT GAME I PLAYED IN WHILE AT TEXAS?

So sad indeed.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

These Are Dangerous and Confusing Times

For those unaware, everything you knew to be good and true has been SHATTERED:

The rest of us have a day's head start on you and let me warn you, it hasn't been easy. So, where do we turn in these uncertain times? This man:

William Butler Yeats, author of one of the four poems I can remember anything about

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction,

while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mega, Lightly Detailed Signing Day Recap

Another signing day, whoops, hold on, Signing Day (need to give it its proper respect) has come and gone.  As always, there was much rejoicing, wailing and gnashing of teeth and teenagers doing dumbass teenager things.  Although, to be fair, there were plenty of adults out there doing dumbass teenager things via the interwebs or within the confines of a home or office, perhaps even a home office for those lucky few.  Anyway, if you missed anything, I submit to you a brief summary so you don't have to plow through 57 tweets of each school's beat writer like I did earlier today when I had to go into a 10-minute meeting during the height of the madness (in fact, it may have been more like eight minutes).

While I can't name a single player Alabama signed, I can tell you that Nick Saban seemed as pleased as Nick Saban will allow the public to think he is pleased.  In fact, a direct quote from Saban when he said, "Pleased with this year's recruiting class, filled a lot of needs. Doesn't every coach say that?"

So, if you're scoring at home, he was pleased, but still managed to get in a dusting of disgust.  However, the one player I can name involved in Alabama's signing day (dammit, I'm not going to waste the energy hitting the shift key each time I have to type that phrase) was offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, and he didn't even sign with Alabama.  Or his other two choices:  Auburn and New Mexico.  To answer your questions, yes, they do play football at New Mexico, and, no, they are not good.  In fact, they are horrible.  You may remember their body of work in the form of a 1-11 season in 2010 and head coach Mike Locksley punching an assistant coach during the 2009 season.   Amazingly, Locksley is still there and coaching away, which should be a red flag to Kouandjio that New Mexico does not, in fact, give a damn about football.

In scanning the signees, I see nothing that indicates the Hogs recruited a personality without the abrasive asshole trait for Bobby Petrino.  However, Arkansas did manage to sign some offensive linemen that were important or something. 

I can tell you that Cyrus Kouandjio's family will take a vote on where he will sign to play football.  And if history is any teacher, when the decision is out of the player's hands, he's going to Auburn.  Sorry, New Mexico, looks like you'll be playing a cactus at left tackle next year.  Don't feel sorry for Alabama, as one of their other 12-star recruits will step right into Kouandjio's void.

From an Ole Miss perspective, Auburn did beat out Ole Miss for the services of running back Trey Mason and cornerback Jermaine Whitehead.  Mason, from Florida, I don't really have an opinion on, but Whitehead, from Greenwood, MS, is a big loss for Ole Miss.  Obviously, you never know about guys until they get on campus and start going against college players, but the main reason I was excited about Whitehead is that he was not any of the cornerbacks currently on Ole Miss' roster.

For the first time I can remember, Florida got thoroughly thumped within its own state.  A coaching change is probably the major contributing factor, but it also helps that Florida State no longer has a confused old man in a straw hat staring off into the distance as its head coach. 

Isaiah Crowell, a running back of great importance according to most recruiting rankings, appeared to be the biggest Georgia signee, but was certainly king of new ideas on signing day.  Crowell, when revealing his choice of Georgia, ignored the standard practice of selecting a hat and instead produced a LIVE ENGLISH BULLDOG:

Well played, sir, well played.  I also enjoy this screen shot because the guy next to him, while finding the use of the bulldog highly amusing, has just realized that his selection has to follow that.  Should have gone first there, boss, should have gone first.

I read that Kentucky lost some important instate players to Lane Kiffin at USC and Ron Zook at Illinois.  We all collectively weep for you, Wildcat fans.

Was he an outstanding player in the state of Louisiana?  Then he went to LSU.  And that is your LSU recruiting class summary.

After defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and wide receivers coach Mark Hudspeth left Starkville for positions up the coaching ladder, State's recruiting class fell apart faster than a David Cutcliffe class that made it to campus.  The biggest blow was all-dominatingly awesome linebacker C.J. Johnson, who switched to Ole Miss.  It was a highly publicized switching of schools, mainly due to the attention attracted by the bombardment of postings by psychotic adults on Johnson's Facebook wall

Despite the collapse, Dan Mullen found his schmuck gear and, when asked about the success of Ole Miss' class, said, "Good. I thought we did pretty well, too. I guess we’ll find out next Thanksgiving. Just like the last two Thanksgivings.”

It was one of the better classes Ole Miss has ever put together, which, given the shitstorm we saw in the fall, is pretty impressive.  Houston Nutt managed to convince five of the state's best players to stay home, including the aforementioned C.J. Johnson, as well as Nick Brassell and Tobias Singleton.  In his press conference, Nutt praised the mothers of the state, thanking them for listening and buying in to what Ole Miss is doing.  It was a standard pulpit performance from Nutt, with lots of short, choppy sentences arranged in no form whatsoever.  And thanks to Clarion-Ledger beat writer Kyle Veazey, we can Nutt's favorite words from the press conference in this word cloud.  Good to see "awesome" and "excited" have not escaped him.

Of course, no signing day at Ole Miss is complete without some inexplicable disaster/nonsense. Defensive back Floyd Raven had committed to Ole Miss, then switched to Texas A&M, then went back to Ole Miss before he finished a sandwich. Today, Ole Miss received a letter of intent from Raven, but it was illegible, so Ole Miss asked him to send another. And, of course, he never did.

Turns out Raven's mom sent the illegible one in without Floyd knowing and even forged his signature. His mom wanted him to go to Ole Miss and assumed that's where he was going to sign. She was wrong. So some hours later, Raven faxed his LOI to Texas A&M. GOOD TIMES.

Oversigning and Houston Nutt rule be damned. The Gamecocks signed 30 players and are still waiting for the decision of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is one of these assholes who's going to wait another two weeks to decide. And as the number one player in the country, perhaps he should be allowed to do what he wants. Or maybe he's just waiting for the checks to clear. Whatever happens, if South Carolina didn't sign another Stephen Garcia, I'm going to be quite upset with you, Steve Spurrier.


You know what isn't awesome?  This signing class.  You know what is awesome?  THUNDERSNOW AND THE GREAT JIM CANTORE OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL.

Happy Signing Day, Everyone

I hope your team gets exactly zero of the players it wants and Ole Miss gets all 87 of its targeted players.  And for you recruits delaying your physical signing until later today, or even later this month, instead of doing what everyone else does and getting this thing over by 11 AM, I hope you fail to qualify, go to junior college and become a part of the first ever 100-man signing class at Ole Miss in 2013.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

From the Desk of Nick Saban

Click to enormosize