Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quay Evans Wants Cousin Eddie Money

As one of Mississippi's most talented high school football recruits (brief pause to vomit on self for talking anything about recruiting in May), defensive tackle Quay Evans of Morton will surely be the centerpiece for one of the biggest recruiting battles of the fall and winter.  Ole Miss, Mississippi State (the school he currently favors), and a handful of other SEC and national teams will all be vying for his signature in February.  Evans is considered an elite prospect, possessing quickness, power, and explosiveness not usually seen in a high school defensive tackle (Coach Orgeron, your thoughts?  "ALLIGATOR TWITCH.").

With his highly valuable skills and the number of schools wanting those skills, it's possible (OH IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN/HAS ALREADY HAPPENED) money and benefits could be promised to Evans during the recruiting process.  But what if providing money and benefits to scholarship players was allowed by the NCAA?  How much should players get then?  The Wall Street Journal asked Evans and other top football and basketball prospects of the class of 2012 just that.  Their findings:
...defensive tackle Quay Evans of Morton, Miss., said $200,000 a year would be an appropriate sum. "We work hard," Evans says.
You may recall a similar exchange from the great Vacation:

Jim Tressel and Ohio State: Double Your Stupidity And Make It Stack

There has always been a cloudy circle of lack of knowledge surrounding the NCAA, particularly the enforcement and investigation areas.  Just who are these people that swoop into town, investigate, and interview a coach and/or player who has undoubtedly done something incredibly stupid?  How did they find out about that stupidity?  How many months or years are we going to have to wait to find out what they found out?  And, when we do find out, what kind of punishment should be expected and how did they come to that decision?

We'll probably never fully know the answers to all of these questions, partly because the fear of the unknown provides the NCAA with a sense of power of which it will never want to surrender, but one thing is one billion percent certain with the NCAA:  DO.  NOT.  LIE.  TO.  THEM.  EVER.  SERIOUSLY.  JUST.  DON'T.  They do not handle being lied to very well.  Recall Dez Bryant, who lied about a lunch with and visit to Deion Sanders' house and was then declared ineligible for the remainder of the season, which ended his Oklahoma State career.  More recently than that, there's the USC and Reggie Bush case.  And now, we have Jim Tressel, who found out lying, admitting his lie only when caught, and then getting caught in another lie of sorts by not revealing there was even more going on with players and benefits than previously discovered, will temporarily end a career in major college football, ruin a reputation, and bring shame on something much larger than himself.

When a scandal breaks, whether in sports, politics, entertainment or whatever, there is only one option for the person or persons involved that will not end in total disaster (and whenever a PR person does not follow this plan, you know they are even MORE moronic than your standard PR person).  Once caught, admit every wrong that was committed (uncovered or not), apologize, show remorse, and vow to correct the situation as best as possible.  That's it.  Of course, there will be consequences, as no one gets away totally free (exception so far:  Auburn; HEYOOOOHHH!!!), but Americans are a pretty forgiving people.  The offending person or persons must toil in the wilderness for a period of time, but in time, all will be forgotten and a fresh start will be offered.

If this plan is not followed, much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and loss of jobs and/or careers is sure to occur.  Over the past half year, Ohio State and Jim Tressel discovered this truth they should have known, or perhaps thought they could get around.  The mess they created isn't about them getting caught or even cheating.  It's that they were dumb enough to lie and attempt to hide information.  The history of NCAA enforcement and investigation, while highly unpredictable and inconsistent, is littered with the bodies of those who chose to lie.  To think one could avoid such an end for himself or school is to think like an idiot, and there are always harsh consequences for idiots who shouldn't be idiots.  However, the good news for Tressel and Ohio State is that, given the NCAA's inconsistency, Tressel should still be eligible to coach in next season's Sugar Bowl.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ole Miss Decides To Join The 21st Century

On Thursday, the Ole Miss athletic department unveiled the results of a gameday experience survey that was sent to season ticket holders and students, which you can find here.  While I'm sure there was all sorts of interesting data in those results (YOU PLAY TOO MUCH RAP MUSIC, which was an actual quote), the most interesting portion of the 26-page report came at the end where 100 improvements to the gameday experience were listed.  These were not proposed improvements, but improvements in writing with a goal to be made by the start of the 2011 season (gasp, accountability!).

A few months ago, when I heard about the survey going out, I immediately filed it in the category of waste of time and resources.  We didn't need a survey to tell us that the stadium gameday experience at Ole Miss is a dog and pony show with a few stray dogs and no ponies (much like how everything is run at Ole Miss).  If you attend Ole Miss home games, you are very familiar with the basic failures of that experience: 

-The sound system has never, ever, not once ever, NEVER worked like it should.  Depending on where you're sitting, it's either at a decibel level similar to that of 27,000 747s taking off at once, or someone pressed the mute button (strangely enough, the PA announcer, Glen Waddle, can always be heard from Clarksdale to Tupelo; unfortunately, having him find something else to do on Saturdays was not part of the 100 improvements). 

-Most of the fans are still sitting in the Grove 30 minutes before kickoff

-The audio/visual presentation on the PoweTron was clearly done by someone employed by Ole Miss, which should never be allowed given the number of talented people living in the South who do that sort of thing for a living

-The PoweTron was severely underused


-Only 50% of the stadium can hear the band (Personally, I could not care less, but it is staggering the number of people who get outraged over not being able to hear the band)

-The concourses in the older parts of the stadium represent the world's largest CF

-If you'd like to use your cell phone, use it to bludgeon the drunk behind you because you sure as hell aren't going to be able to use it for its intended communication purposes (This is also somewhat of an Oxford problem on Saturdays and, as always, an AT&T problem)

/has next 25 phone calls "dropped"

There are plenty more, but I'm just as tired of writing that list as you are reading it.  But, back to whatever the point of all of this is, to spend time and money reminding ourselves of all of these things seemed foolish.  WE ALREADY KNOW THEY SUCK.  However, even though it was probably unnecessary, by going through this survey process, we eventually arrived at the list of 100 improvements coming to the stadium in 2011.  For those unfamiliar with how Ole Miss works, you should know that Ole Miss has never taken the straightest line to get anywhere ever, so that doesn't come as a surprise to me, but I am surprised we arrived at potentially a better place, which RARELY happens.

A stadium exists to make money.  And, like anything that you want to make money for you, it should be run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.  From the tiniest of details, like cleaning up the ketchup and mustard mess on the condiments table made by someone's terrible kid right after it happens, to a much larger issue, like people being able to hear what the person speaking on the PoweTron is saying, it all matters.  If you make people think you give a crap, then show that you do, they'll enjoy their experience, keep coming back, and spend money (assuming 4-8 seasons aren't the norm, which, at this point, is a big assumption).

For as long as I can remember, Ole Miss has half-assed everything.  Sometimes, we didn't even give a percentage of an ass.  So, while all of these improvements are absolutely logical ideas that should have been implemented years ago, it's refreshing to see the athletic department finally get their ass in gear and, you know, DO THEIR JOBS (yes, I realize how sad it is I'm giving positive compliments to a group for doing what they should do, but we've been given so little over the years, I'll gladly eat any good news up).  It remains entirely possible that we'll continue to half-ass away, and I'll still be yammering and shouting to the sky about the same things five years from now, but this is Ole Miss, and initiative and taking responsible actions happen about as often as we go to Atlanta, so it's hard not to have a little twinge of hope that we could, at least partially, get out of our own damn way for once.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Reinstatement

"Kinda busy right now. We'll talk later."

"Maybe.  Probably might be maybe."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dana Holgorsen Is Coming To A Casino Near You

Click to enormosize, and yes, Holgorsen's head is abnormally large. It was attempt number 12 to get it close to normal, so I gave up.

As reported earlier today, the West Virginia head coach-in-waiting was involved in a disturbance at a casino around 3 a.m. on May 18th.  Quoting those who know what the hell is going on:
Multiple sources told the Charleston Daily Mail Holgorsen was removed from Mardi Gras Casino & Resort after 3 a.m. May 18.  Holgorsen had been at a Mountaineer Athletic Club function earlier in the day in Logan before spending the evening at the casino with other university representatives.
Holgorsen's behavior allegedly reached a point that necessitated involvement from on-site security, sources said.  Holgorsen was escorted out of the casino with the episode caught on surveillance.  University representatives who were with Holgorsen were said to have then intervened. No arrest was made.
The report goes on to say Holgorsen was involved in a similar incident at another casino about a month ago.  West Virginia, most notably AD Oliver Luck and head coach Bill Stewart, is aware of what happened and will comment once everyone gets their story straight.

First, it's good to know that other than poor literacy and health rates, Mississippi and West Virginia do have something in common:  BUILDINGS THAT HOUSE LEGAL GAMES OF CHANCE.  And second, other than winning millions, counting cards, or being pass out drunk, I'm not sure there is anything one can do to be asked to leave a casino.  Maybe the casinos in West Virginia operate with a different standard of conduct, but once, while in a Mississippi casino, I had a man hovering around asking me to buy the gold chain OFF HIS NECK so he could have some gas money to get home.  Or to spend another two hours playing penny slots.  His request was politely declined. 

If the West Virginia casinos do maintain a higher standard of gaming, then I say to you, offensive genius Holgorsen, there will probably be job opening in December in a place one hour away from casinos with more of a gunslinger's mentality.  Plus, there's a Krystal on the way out, which makes the drive from Tunica to Oxford that much more delightful at 4 a.m.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Russell Wilson Interviews For Auburn Job

Former NC State quarterback and current minor league baseball player, Russell Wilson was on Auburn's campus Tuesday, taking in the sights and sounds of coaches pleading with him to keep them from having to start Barrett Trotter/Clint Moseley/Neil Caudle/The Ghost of Chris Todd at quarterback for the 2011 season. 

Wilson was dismissed from the NC State team by head coach Tom O'Brien for not being committed enough to football and, oddly, for not being more like Mike Glennon (The rest of the world aches for you, Mike Glennon, because you are allegedly better than a three-year starter with a career made up of 8,545 passing yards 76 passing touchdowns, and 17 rushing touchdowns. Probably not gonna go very well for you, sir.).

Wilson has been contacted by at least 12 schools, but first sat down with Gene Chizik to discuss his potential employment (THERE'S NO OTHER WORD TO USE) with Auburn:

"Hello, Russell. Come on in and have a seat. Watch out for the chin, it gets away from me sometimes when I'm amped up."

"Uh, yeah, sure thing, Coach. Thanks for having me here today."

"Let me get this headset off so I can relax a little bit. See if we can't get that chin back under control."

"There we go. Much better. The tension just melts away when I lose that thing. But I like to wear it around during the day. I think it helps me keep an edge."

"Uh, yeah, that makes sense I guess."

"So, how's your spring been so far? Baseball going well?"

"Yeah, not too bad. Had some good games, hopefully just get better as the season goes on."

"I hear ya, that's our motto around here too. Well, after "All In," "Auburn Family," and "Auburn Men," then it's our motto. Just trying to get better each day.

"But enough about mottos, Russell, we wanted to bring you in and talk a little football with you. See what you're thinking, where your head's at. Coach Malzahn will probably join us in a bit to talk some philosophy, but for right now..."

(The door to the office flies open)


"Ted? What the hell are you doing? I'm in a meeting!"

"Oh, sweet Russell. You are here. You've got to come here, Russell. You don't know what they'll do to me if the offense can't score. They're gonna fire me, Russell! I can't go back to that world of cold mac and cheese and tuna. I can't! I won't! You can save me, Russell. You can save me!"

"Ted, get the hell out of here! What's the matter with you!?!? Hey, let go of him! TROOPER!!!"

"Right here, boss. What's the matte...TED! Man, what's wrong with you? You said you were just going to the bathroom! Let go of his legs!"

"Get him off of Russell!"

"What's wrong with this man? I'm losing feeling in my legs!"

"His grip strength is incredible!"


"I got him free! Come'on, Ted. Back to storage closet with you!"

(Taylor drags Roof out of Chizik's office with Roof screaming about injustice and tuna.)

"I'm terribly sorry about that, Russell. Ted gets a little excited sometimes. Hell, we're all a little excited that you're here. Your skill set has everyone thinking about the great things we could accomplish together."

"Coach, that man is crazy. I don't want to see him anymore.  He's like Coach O'Brien that time he electrocuted himself."

"He's gone, Russell. He's gone. I can call Cam Newton up right now so you can ask him how many times he interacted with him. I'll save you the suspense and tell you it was once. And it happened just the way it happened with you. Then look what happened with Cameron's career. I'm telling you, Russell, that you could be the next Cam."

"I don't know about that, Coach, he's one of the best of all-time."

"You know what I know, Russell? What Coach Malzahn knows? What Barrett Trotter and the other Chris Todds know? You can be one of the best. Coach Malzahn always puts his players in a position to be great, and if you have an inkling of skill, you can do very well for yourself and us. Trust me, those Chris Todds want you to do this. You think they want to put their skills on public display? Hell no they don't. They, I, Gus, we all want you."

"Man, that sounds awesome. I've always wanted to play in the SEC. You know, to find out what that experience is like. Let me ask you this..."

(The door opens and Trooper Taylor returns)

"Man, dawg, that was crazy. Right, Russell?"

"Uh, yeah, I guess so."

"You know it, dawg. Hit me with it."

(extends fist for fist pound)
(Wilson returns the fist found)

"That's what I'm talkin' about right there, Russell Wilson!"

(pulls towel out of pocket and waves it for 45 seconds)

"See what I mean when I'm talking about everyone's excited?"

"Haha! You know it, Coach! So, are we gonna do this or what?"

"Do what?"

(speaking in hushed tone, leans forward)
"Well, Russell, the thing is we really want you here. I think we've made that clear. The question is do you want to be here? And if so, what can we do for that to happen?"

"Wow, well, you guys have shown me how much you care, and that's important to me. I appreciate that. But I kinda wanted to talk with Coach Malzahn about the offense. You know, what he likes his quarterbacks to do."

"Hahaha! You hear that, Coach? That's a good one, dawg. I like this guy, man. We need more funny on our team."

"Coach Malzahn is down in his lab working on a faster, more efficient way for his offense to run. He usually doesn't come to this meeting."

"But I thought you said he'd..."


"Yo, man, this meeting is about the package. You know stuff like that. What things you want out of this, so everybody's happy."

"Like a scholarship and books?"

"Hahaha! Man, that is rich, dude! Where'd you find this guy, Coach?

"Wait, there's more to it than that? Meal plans?"

"Boy, you must be from the ACC!"

"That was moderately amusing, Trooper."

"I, I don't understand. What more do I need than tuition, books, and food?"

"Such a sweet kid. Let's talk a walk, Coach and Russell. Too many ears could be around here. We'll talk more details as we go."

"Man, no wonder the ACC sucks. Hahaha! Hey, y'all go on ahead, I'll catch up. Need to check on Ted."

(Chizik and Wilson leave)
(Taylor pulls out his phone and dials a number)

"Tate Forcier, my man. How's it goin' today, dawg."