Saturday, February 10, 2007

GOLD BOND

Chan Gailey has chosen an offensive coordinator, and his name (shockingly) is not Reggie Ball:

Bond replaces Patrick Nix, who helped Georgia Tech's offense lead the ACC in scoring in eight league games last season. Nix took the offensive coordinator's job at Miami last month.
Bond, coincidentally, interviewed with the Hurricanes prior to Nix taking the job. ...
Bond said his offensive philosophies match those of Gailey.
"We're all about being physical and not hurting yourself with turnovers and field position," Bond said. "I love fact that they run the football, and I love the fact that they're a tough physical outfit."
Bond said Gailey promised him the freedom to tweak the Yellow Jackets' offense if necessary.
"But it certainly won't be any sort of major overhaul," Bond said. "When you win an ACC Coastal Division title, you don't need an overhaul."

First of all, Bond can't say that leading the ACC in scoring during conference games is a reason not to change the offense. That's sort of like saying you're the youngest fan of The Price is Right; you're still on Social Security.

As far as tweaking the offense -- well, one major change has already been made for him.


Worth at least a 3-point per game bump.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

McKNIGHT-GATE

One of the reasons I find the whole recruiting process nowadays unsettling is because of the level of media scrutiny these young men are subjected to.
And that might be -- emphasis on might -- why Joe McKnight has set off a lot of questions, a possible investigation and a bizarre series of events.
The relevant particulars, with comments:
McKnight, regarded as the nation's top running back prospect, signed a national letter of intent with USC on Wednesday. During a news conference announcing his college choice, he told reporters back home that his mind was put at ease about USC after he listened to a telephone conversation between Coach Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush, the Trojans' Heisman Trophy-winning running back. ...
"It never happened," Carroll said.
Carroll said he broached the subject of a conference call with assistants before a visit to McKnight's home but was told it was against NCAA rules. He also said that McKnight never spoke to Bush, who recently completed his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints. [Emphasis, as always, is C&F's]
So we know that Carroll had the idea to set up a conference call. We know that McKnight initially said there was a conference call, then took it all back when people started asking questions. Note: This marks Story No. 1.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that McKnight said Carroll set up a conference call so he and high school coach J.T. Curtis could talk to Bush and ease their worries that USC might be sanctioned.
Curtis said in a telephone interview Thursday that he spoke to Carroll during McKnight's recruitment, but not on a conference call with McKnight or Bush. He also said McKnight told him that "Coach Carroll was talking to Reggie on the speakerphone and Joe was able to listen and hear Reggie Bush's side of the story."
Here we have Story No. 2, namely that a speakerphone conversation took place between McKnight, Carroll and Bush. But wait! That would be a violation, too! We need another story!

After being informed of Carroll's denial Thursday night, Curtis called McKnight. He later said the player told him he never heard Bush on a speakerphone.
"He said when they came in his house, the discussion was brought up about probation and that's when the conversation came up that they had talked to Reggie, but Joe was not there," Curtis said. "He said, 'I was not on the speakerphone. I never called him and he never called me. I want to make it clear I never spoke to Reggie and he never spoke to me. I just messed it up. I shouldn't have said it that way [at the news conference].' "

Ah! Story No. 3 is acceptable. Nothing happened. Disregard the previous two versions of events. That was all a big misunderstanding. Er, two big misunderstandings. Both of which fell apart after media members pointed out inconsistencies. But Pete Carroll is a "good guy," so it must be Story No. 3, right?
But accepting Story No. 3 leaves too many loose ends. Did Curtis and McKnight have concerns about the possibility of penalties for USC-West? They almost had to, if they have a Chan Gailey level of intelligence between them. If they did, how did those concerns finally get put to bed?
Second, why the confusion after the press conference? Let's say, for the sake of argument, that McKnight got confused at the press conference. Why would Curtis pop off not long after that without checking with McKnight? Why did he only do so after hearing about Carroll's denial?
But why did McKnight's press conference statement independently describe a strategy Pete Carroll supposedly thought about using but didn't? Is that coincidence?
And why are there three versions of the story? Three drastically different versions of the story, only the final of which would put USC-West in the clear?
You can bet that if this were an SEC team, there would be hysterical laughing at the varying versions of the story. But because it's USC-West ... well, they deserve the benefit of the doubt, right?
After all, it's not like they're accused of doing anything else ...
You were saying?
Oops.
Never mind.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

RECRUITING ROUNDUP

So, C&F figured recruiting was worth one last post, since it turned out so well (we hope) for the Gamecocks.

First of all, Spurrier continues to get props for hauling in the best crop of recruits in South Carolina history. Bar none. If the rankings are right.

The center of the class seems to have come from Florida -- no surprise there -- and North Carolina. That makes a lot of sense, seeing as how North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest have little cache when it comes to football -- Wake Forest still has to prove 2006 wasn't a fluke -- and N.C. State has to wash away the disaster that was the end of the Amato years.


This is how we tell if you start: Paper, scissors ...

The Tarheel State has to have talent, and with few other natural places to go (Virginia Tech? Tennessee?), there's no reason it shouldn't come to Columbia.

The best news could be in the receiving class, particularly with Sidney Rice taking off for the NFL. Again, this is if the rankings are right. I'd say one of these guys will almost certainly start in three-receiver sets, and one of them might make No. 2. Or, if Spurrier decides to keep Kenny McKinley at No. 2, one of them has an outside chance at the No. 1 position.

The contrast is striking with Clemson, which is gearing up to blame 'rithmetic for its recruiting woes.


It's just too hard for our would-be players.

Oh, and a handy tip: Try not to get your recruits shot. They tend to choose another school.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

J-ACC-SONVILLE AGAIN

The ACC title game has decided to return to the city that hosted the first ACC championship game and the inaugural ACC championship. And don't confuse the two.


Conference couldn't resist the sights of Jacksonville.

But don't get the idea that the contract is, like, written in ink or anything:

The Gator Bowl Association, which has staged the event for two years, and the ACC came to an agreement Tuesday to extend their agreement for the 2007 game, but neither side made any guarantees whether Jacksonville will host the game beyond this year.
"We are extremely pleased that the city of Jacksonville will continue to be the host city for the 2007 ACC football championship game," said GBA president Rick Catlett. "The city and the Gator Bowl Association enjoy a wonderful partnership with [ACC] commissioner John Swofford and the Atlantic Coast Conference. We look forward to working together to ensure the 2007 ACC football championship game is a success and surpasses our expectations."
The ACC had a two-year option to return the game to Jacksonville, but after the Wake Forest-Georgia Tech ACC Championship game last December sold only 62,850 tickets and had no more than 50,000 fans show up for the game, Swofford and the GBA agreed it was best to give Jacksonville no more than a one-year extension. The GBA lost more than $1 million on the 2006 championship game after the first ACC title game between Florida State and Virginia Tech attracted nearly 73,000 fans and was at least a break-even proposition for the GBA.


Game was less successful than this.

Imagine that. Wake Forest-Georgia Tech was outsold by Florida State-Virginia Tech. I can't imagine why that happened. Unless you count the fact that Florida State and Virginia Tech have ... what do you call them ... oh, yeah, fan bases.

Jacksonville's ability to host the ACC title game beyond this year will be contingent on the event being able to produce something close to a sellout in the Dec. 1 game, which has no set starting time.
Mayor John Peyton is confident the game can rebound after the disappointing attendance at the Georgia Tech-Wake Forest championship game.
"Jacksonville has a rich sports history serving as host for a vast array of collegiate and professional sporting events," Peyton said in a released statement. "We are thrilled to continue this tradition by hosting the ACC Championship game again this year. We look forward to welcoming players and fans to our great city."

"Besides," Peyton added, "how often do you really think Chan Gailey and Wake Forest can get to the championship game? Can't happen two years in a row. Right?"

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UNDER REVIEW: EMPLOYMENT STATUSES

A couple of Pac-10 items:

--The replay official for the Oregon-Oklahoma game has been canned.

As the Pacific-10 Conference discusses improvements to its instant replay equipment for 2007, one decision already has been made: Gordon Riese will not be using it.
Riese, the embattled instant replay official who was in the booth during the Oklahoma-Oregon game Sept. 16 in Eugene, got a call from the conference last week with official confirmation.
"I was told I was not wanted in the replay booth," said Riese, who said he received death threats after the Ducks' 34-33 win after a botched ruling on an onside kickoff snatched a victory away from the Sooners.
Replays that reached the television audience but not Riese's monitor showed that not only did Oregon illegally touch the ball before the kick went 10 yards but also -- and this part was not reviewable -- that Oklahoma recovered it. ...

Luckily, a replacement has already been found.


Might actually be an improvement.

And our erstwhile official will not go without work.

Riese, who said he has been diagnosed with depression in the wake of the controversy, will stay on the Pac-10 payroll as a technical assistant -- a position he has held the past two seasons in addition to working the replay booth. Technical assistants, who receive $350 per game, review videos of games to evaluate the performance of officials.

Yes, because that's the perfect job for him.

--Side note: UCLA has extended Karl Dorrell's contract for a year. Bruins Nation is taking this reasonably well. Because, they say, it essentially means nothing.

If Dorrell doesn't win the Pac-10 with the returning talent on UCLA's roster this upcoming season (in DG's code words which is "the next step"), none of this will matter. I don't see DG having any problem firing a coach who can't bring home a conference championship after being in charge for five years. And if Dorrell wins the Pac-10, he is most likely gone to the NFL.
Either way, this news concerning a contract "extension" won't matter much at the end of next season.

So. Have a good day, Karl.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

RECRUITING DAY IS ALMOST HERE

It's almost signing day!!! We'll know the national champion, like, tomorrow!!!11111

One of the coaches will jump from the pack and sign a No. 1 QB, or a No. 1 RB, or a No. 1 WR, and they'll have a dozen stars besides the players name, and there will be no reason to watch the season, because they will have the No. 1 class, and that'll be it1!!!11111!!!!

Because recruiting always decides championships! The best recruiter wins it all!!111!!1


The next guy to hoist the crystal ball?

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BELLOTTI GETS EXTENSION, NEW UNIS

Mike Bellotti received a five-year, 18-uniform contract extension from Oregon on Monday.
Athletic Director Bill Moos noted that Bellotti has lead the team through dozens of uniform changes and has arranged "a rich palette of colors that can never be replaced."
Moos also noted that another uniform could be coming.
Designing Oregon's new jersey.

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RESTING. BUT WHERE'S THE PEACE?

A couple of tragic notes.

First, the investigation into the death of Mario Danelo ends, sadly, as inconclusively as it could. C&F's prayers to his family, who must be going through agony over this:

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California kicker Mario Danelo was drunk when he plunged over a cliff to his death, but the cause of his death was "undetermined," according to a coroner's report released Monday.
A toxicological report accompanying Danelo's autopsy report found he had a 0.23 blood-alcohol level, nearly three times the legal limit for driving in California. No drugs were detected in his body, the report said.
The autopsy report said the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries, but "because of the unanswered questions, we are stating the manner of death as undetermined," Deputy Medical Examiner Jeffrey Gutstadt of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office wrote in the report. ...
The report also couldn't ascertain what Danelo's state-of-mind was before his death but he "would have had to scale a wall to get to the strip of land before the steep drop-off of approximately 150 feet while under the influence of alcohol."

And a former Syracuse wideout has also died under mysterious circumstances.

KEYPORT, N.J. -- Former Syracuse wide receiver J.J. Bedle, who starred here in high school, was found dead at his family's home in town, police said.
Bedle, 21, was found Friday morning by a family member, according to police, who did not suspect foul play. Results of toxicology tests to determine cause of death were not expected for several weeks, police Capt. Tom Mitchell said. ...
Bedle enrolled at Syracuse in 2004 and redshirted that year. He played sparingly in the first eight games of 2005 as a receiver and punt returner, making three receptions for 28 yards and returning seven punts for 28 yards. He also played one game as a walk-on for the men's basketball team in the 2005-06 season.
Bedle was suspended in spring of 2006 by Orange head football coach Greg Robinson for "conduct detrimental to the team" and did not participate in the annual spring scrimmage. He transferred to Delaware State this past fall but broke his collarbone during the first game of the season and never quite recovered physically, according to his brother, Tyrone Bedle.

Again, C&F extends prayers and condolences to the Bedle family.

It's hard enough, one imagines, when life ends too soon. To have questions linger after that is probably more difficult than, unless you've been through it, you or I could ever imagine.

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