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March 28, 2009

FOOTBALL FINALLY GETTING GOOD ROLE MODELS

After what seems like a recent downward spiral in the morality and character of many college and professional football players, it's nice to finally have a couple of marquee players that are truly great role models: Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow.

The key here is that they're household names.

Because it takes household names to offset the multitude of bad press received by many athletes...positive drug tests, weapons charges, assault, domestic violence, and on and on and on.

Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow are a breath of fresh air. Two men that all expectant fathers or fathers with young sons hope their children grow up to be like.

Two men who spend time in the offseason in third world countries, helping the poor, humbling themselves and talking about their Christianity.

Colt just spent his spring break in Peru (for the second straight year) and Tebow goes to the  Philippines regularly. Both go as missionaries.

Now, I'm not saying that if you don't go to another country to do good things, you're not a good role model. There are plenty of reasons to stay home and do good things.

 All I'm saying is that it's nice to have arguably the two most recognizable figures in college football today be as good of guys as they are.

Something we can all be proud of. Two guys we can easily root for. Two men who we can all learn something from...

I'd love to see McCoy and Tebow square off in New York at the Heisman Trophy awards show and in the national championship game. THAT would be sweet...

 

  • mark rogers
  • March 28, 2009 8:41 PM

RUFF RIDERS WORTH PRICE OF ADMISSION

To be honest, I didn't know what to think when I heard about Abilene getting an Indoor Football League team.

After Abilene's previous attempts at semi-pro or professional teams, an over-the-top eyeroll wouldn't be out of the question or unreasonable.

But I'll have to say that after checking out the roster of the team, I'm actually pretty excited about checking out the games.

The team (according to the team's website and other reliable sources) will be led by former Dallas Cowboys QB Quincy Carter. Yes, the former Georgia star who led Bill Parcells' first Cowboy team to a 10-6 record and a Wild Card Playoff loss to eventual NFC champion Carolina.

The same Quincy Carter who was dismissed from the team a few days into training camp the year after that because of a failed drug test...the beginning of the Vinny Testaverde era.

Other names on the roster you may be familiar with include former Nebraska QB Jamaal Lord, who is listed as a WR on the team roster.

Carlos Aslup backed up RB Darren Sproles at Kansas State a few years ago. He should be fun to watch.

LB Warren Lott, another Kansas State alum, signed with Clemson out of high school as one of the best defensive prospects in the country. His grades couldn't cut Clemson so he played at Georgia Military for two years and became one of the nation's top 50 JUCO prospects.

DL Fred Thrweat (pronounced Thret) played high school ball at Midland Lee before a solid career at Texas Tech. The dude is absolutely HUGE. He has the biggest calves I've ever seen with my own two eyes. He is a bona fide monster.

Then there are a handful of local college products including former ACU DL Willis Hogan - an unbelievable athlete who had a great career at ACU and can hoop with the best of them...he's a great athlete and could have easily played college basketball. He was heavily recruited out of high school in both football and basketball.

Other former ACU footballers include WR Chris Morris, offensive linemen Regis Andrez and Matt Raesner, and DB Brandon Henry.

Hardin-Simmons has a couple alums on the team as well. WR Mike Carillo and OL Glenn Revell will strut their stuff in the IFL.

As will McMurry skill players Rashon Lewis and Desmond Sanders - RB and WR respectively.

The first home game is this Monday night. Tickets are very affordable, and I'd love to see some big attendance to keep these guys around for a while.

The next home game after that is on Saturday. So let's get out there and support the Ruff Riders!

  • mark rogers
  • March 28, 2009 8:22 PM

March 21, 2009

Grizzly Adams (and Taylor Potts) DID have a beard...

In a very recent development disclosed from a very reliable source, Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts has done it...he has shaved his grizzly, burly, Harley Davidson, man beard.

As many of you have probably seen the aforementioned facial frenzy, Potts' beard rivaled many of the all-time great melon, man-marks of all time.

The beard must have taken a series of steps (and maybe even days) to shave. It had the square footage of a small Jacuzzi, was thicker than Burt Reynolds' chest wig, claimed the lives of several rather large insects and had a squirrel named Buster living in it. Buster has since relocated to a nearby park in Lubbock.

Taylor's beard brought to mind many great beards in football history. And we're not talking about the "I don't feel like shaving so I'll just let the scruff grow out" beard that Brett Favre and Kurt Warner sport (Koy Detmer also has a legendary scruff that violently crawls all the way down his neck onto his shoulders and upper arms).

We're talking about the kind of beard that said, "Hi. I'm Taylor. I'm a college student and play football for Texas Tech...but if I felt like it, I could survive in the woods eating wolves, snakes and grass, fight Kodiak bears for fun and make my own knives and arrows by taking cactus leaves and other poisonous plants and sharpening them with my teeth. So leave me alone."

It helped that the beard was coupled with a 6'5", 250 pound bohemeth of an individual.

NFL greats Ron Jaworski, Donovan McNabb, Mike Holmgren and Jerome Bettis also currently sport very nice beards.

But don't worry. Taylor's face was not without grizzly hair for long. He is in the process of growing out the super-huge, mega-man mustache.

A superb move in my opinion. A move that will only separate him from the rest of the great college football players next year...well, that and the fact that he'll be the only QB throwing for 500 yards a game.

So with the knowledge of the burgeoning stache...let's bring to light the great mustaches in football history: Mike Ditka, Ben Davidson, Marvin Harrison, Franco Harris and Bill Cowher. They will always be remembered for what they did on the field and what grew above their upper lips.

The Dallas Cowboys certainly have their own Mustache Memorial Club. Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Drew Pearson, Cliff Harris and Nate Newton all wore the stache and Star proudly.

And there's no shortage of NFL QBs with the stache. Think of Joe Montana (who had one for a few seasons), Joe Namath, Jake Plummer, Randal Cunningham and Quincy Carter...yes I just dropped a Quincy Carter reference.

And let's not forget the facial hair of public figures outside the football realm: Dr. Phil, Hulk Hogan, Zorro and Santa Claus. All great men because of what grew or continues to grow on their faces.

As Potts is about to take center stage as the QB of the most prolific offense in college football history, he will be forever linked with the great facial hair phenoms in football lore.

Let's just hope he ends up more like Joe Montana than Dr. Phil - who I believe was cut from his high school powder puff team.

So as we prepare for the 2009 college football season...just remember three things:

Grizzly Adams (and Taylor Potts) did have a beard, I wouldn't cross either Big Foot-esque creature, and I can't wait to see that stache.

  • mark rogers
  • March 21, 2009 8:34 PM

March 14, 2009

HEISMAN CHANCES AS DEFENDING RUNNER-UP

I know it's been a few months since Colt McCoy came in second place in the final Heisman vote, but I thought I'd take a look back at history and see what it means - historically - to take second place.

Six times in the history of college football the Heisman runner up has eventually won the award either the next year or two years later.

It happened first way back in 1939, the year Nile Kinnick of Iowa won. Runner-up that year was Tom Harmon. The Michigan Half Back won the award the next year.

The next year Notre Dame's Angello Bertelli was second place...he won the award two years later in 1943.

Army's Mr. Outside, Glenn Davis, came in second place twice before finally taking home the award in 1946.

College football was a different game in the 1940s. Underclassmen played a lot more because of smaller rosters and, of course, the war. That's why so many second place Heisman finishers eventually won way back then.

Since 1946 it's only happened twice...to two very notable athletes.

The great OJ Simpson won college football's coveted trophy in 1968, a year after Gary Beban edged him by just 240 points.

And Herschel Walker was third in 1980 (his freshman year in which he probably should have won the award), second in 1981 and finally won it in 1982.

It hasn't happened since as rosters expanded, players became more specialized and more and more schools were lumped into the Heisman picture each year.

Because of all that, runners-up have a weaker chance of winning the award in future years, but there have been some very notable silver medalists.

Bob Griese in 1966 (winner - Steve Spurrier).

Joe Theismann in 1970 (winner - Jim Plunkett).

John Elway in 1982 (winnner - H. Walker).

Steve Young in 1983 (winner - Mike Rozier).

Rodney Peete in 1988 (winner - Barry Sanders)...Troy Aikman was third that year.

Rocket Ismail in 1990 (winner - Ty Detmer).

Marshall Faulk in 1991 (winner - Gino Toretta).

Peyton Manning in 1997 (winner - Charles Woodson).

Larry Fitzgerald in 2003 (winner - Jason White).

Adrian Peterson in 2004 (winner - Matt Leinart).

Vince Young in 2005 (winner - Reggie Bush).

Darren McFadden in 2006 and 2007 (winners - Troy Smith and Tim Tebow respectively).

Obviously the jury's still out on the more recent ones, but for the most part those notable second place finishers all had better NFL careers than the players that won...for the most part. Barry Sanders is an exception.

So what does all that mean?

Absolutely nothing. Colt McCoy will be on all the pre-season Heisman watch lists, and I think he has a very good chance of winning or at least getting another trip to the DAC in NYC.

There is one other thing working in his favor...and Taylor Potts for that matter.

Since the Heisman Trophy was first awarded back in 1935, one player from a Texas university has won the award in every decade except for the 1960s.

Davey O'brien (TCU 1938), Doak Walker (SMU 1948), John David Crow (Texas A&M 1957), Earl Campbell (Texas 1977), Andre Ware (Houston 1989) and Ricky Williams (Texas 1998).

Also notice that they've all been in the latter part of the decade so Colt's and Taylor's chances are really good!

Seems like it just started, but spring practice is about to wrap up which only means one thing: we're that much closer to the regular season!!!

Soon....soon.

  • mark rogers
  • March 14, 2009 8:11 PM

March 6, 2009

T.O. - GET OUT...AND NEVER COME BACK

From an article I wrote on January 23:

"Terrell Owens is another story. He didn't do much to cause controversy this year, but he's held true to form that no team with him on it will ever make it to the Super Bowl.

He needs to go."

And go he finally does. I couldn't be happier.

Not that he isn't a great player. A Hall of Famer. A physical phenomenon. A major attraction.

But the fact is this: no team with TO will ever play for or win a Super Bowl. That article I wrote on January 23 was called "Cowboys Culture Change." Well, the culture is changing...especially on the defensive side of the ball.

TO is gone. Safety Roy Williams is gone. And we brought in three guys with Wade Phillips ties: Igor Olshansky (DE to replace losing Chris Canty in free agency to the NY Giants) and LBs Keith Brooking and Matt Stewart.

Those are the kinds of players that win you championships.

I can't say I was thrilled to lose Anthony Henry for Jon "looks like a chunky kid" Kitna, but we could always pick up another corner/safety hybrid in the draft or move Orlando Scandrick to safety...he's got the tools.

Losing Canty was hard on me, too. I really like him, but he was just too expensive. That was just a business decision and Olshansky is just as good if not better in the Phillips' system.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article detailing what the Cowboys needed to address this off season and in the draft. They've already taken care of backup QB (although not quite the solution I was hoping for) and LB.

Now we can focus on the offensive line and wide receiver. My gut tells me that Jerry wants to get another high profile receiver...and he may even trade up to get one.

Someone like a Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin or Percy Harvin. Someone with a big name and big-time skills.

As disappointed as I was in the Cowboys at the end of the season, I think the franchise is doing everything right so far this offseason to turn things around.

Many are starting to say that if Romo doesn't win a playoff game this year, he needs to go. I'm not ready to go there yet, but we're losing valuable time for this era. We need to win now.

I hope TO goes somewhere and finishes his career with some dignity...I just don't know where he's going to play? Who would want him now?

But you know what? Who cares?

He's gone. We've moved on. And we have a better chance to win our sixth Super Bowl title with him someplace else.

The season will be here before we know it!!

  • mark rogers
  • March 6, 2009 10:57 PM

March 1, 2009

ACU Athletes Perform Well at NFL Combine

Just thought it was worthy to note the great numbers ACU's Bernard Scott and Johnny Knox put up at the NFL Combine last week.

Scott was the 8th fastest running back, tied for the 8th best vertical leap, tied for the second highest broad jump (only OSU's Chris Wells had a better one), had the fastest 3-cone drill of any RB AND the fastest 20-yard shuttle.

That's pretty amazing.

I think for someone who was on the verge of either barely getting drated or being picked up as a free agent, he made a strong case for a sure-thing draft choice...and a lot of more money.

Johnny Knox ran an unbelievable 4.34 40 yard dash. We all knew he was fast...but to run that kind of time on an electronic timer under that kind of pressure is incredible. The analysis of him on the NFL Combine website said that he "lacked elite speed"...HA. Third fastest receiver at the Combine...no, third fastest PLAYER on the entire field. Yeah...he lacks elite speed.

He may have just vaulted himself into the 4th or 5th round. NFL executives LOVE speed. It translates into production on the field and a long career. Nothing replaces speed, and you can't teach it. If you have it and can catch a football (which Knox can and did very well at the Combine), then you will be very rich.

It'll be interesting to see where those guys end up. Hopefully it's early on the second day which will just mean more pub for the ACU program. Danielle Manning was just the beginning of the new era!

 

  • mark rogers
  • March 1, 2009 3:07 PM