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Archive : May 2009

May 27, 2009

COWBOYS WILL MISS ELLIS...

...not so much on the field as in the locker room and as a team spokesperson.

For more than ten years, Greg Ellis played his heart out in a Dallas Cowboys' uniform. The absolute professional was well-spoken, took time to talk to the media and sign autographs and never caused any disruptions in the locker room.

He never won a single playoff game and will either be released or traded in the next few days.

Ellis was drafted by the Cowboys out of North Carolina and has never played for another team.

For those of us who remember minor details about the Cowboys (like me), we'll remember that his last few offseasons with the club were clouded by disappointment and frustration with his contract and security with the team.

But that's not what Ellis should be remembered for...

He came to practice every day and worked.

He left it all on the field every game he ever played.

I used to cover the Cowboys a few years ago. Before every game, Ellis would grace the field (by himself) in his game pants and t-shirt and go through drills and stretch...getting focused and preparing himself for the battle ahead.

During these drills he would often look stiff and uncomfortable, but when that game started, he sure was fun to watch.

Dallas won't miss him on the field with Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer holding down the end spots...two guys that make up arguably the best DE combo in the league.

We also won't miss him in the bank since he'll free up about 4.5 million dollars...which will probably go to Ware in the near future.

We'll miss him for the type of person and player that he was.

Greg Ellis was a great Dallas Cowboys, but he won't ever make the Ring of Honor or Hall of Fame. Had he played in another era or on a different team? Who knows...

I'll remember Greg Ellis for what he meant to the Cowboys during one of the worst stretches in franchise history...a constant force on the defensive side of the ball, positive team representative and a role model for young players all across the nation by the way he composed himself on and off the field.

We'll miss you Greg...and wish you the best of luck. Please don't dominate us if we ever play the team you end up with.

  • mark rogers
  • May 27, 2009 8:59 PM

RANGERS SPOT A COLT

If you watched the Rangers and Yankees on Memorial Day, the only bright spot was right before the game.

Colt McCoy threw out the first pitch, but he didn't just do the traditional "rock-and-fire." He took a three step drop and lobbed his pitch to the plate.

I guess if you're going to do something that's a little out of your comfort zone you might as well bring some form of personal comfort to the situation. And I think Colt is pretty comfortable in a three-step drop.

But that tactic doesn't always work in every scenario.

One time I was very nervous and uncomfortable as I prepared to attend my own wedding shower...so in an attempt to bring a small level of personal comfort to the event, I wore only my boxers and undershirt.

That did not go over well...

 

  • mark rogers
  • May 27, 2009 8:49 PM

May 18, 2009

POTTS WILL FINALLY MEET McCOY AND KEENUM

Perhaps the best and most nationally recognized Big Country quarterback trio to EVER play in the same era will finally get a chance to settle things on the field in the first few weeks of the college football season.

I'm not 100 percent sure if Taylor Potts (Abilene High), Case Keenum (Wylie) and Colt McCoy (Jim Ned) ever met head to head in 7-on-7 or some other unofficial game or practice, but I know they never met in regular season action as Texas High School Quarterbacks.

Taylor Potts will lead the Texas Tech Red Raiders into Austin to face Heisman Trophy candidate, Colt McCoy, and the (most likely) #2 ranked Texas Longhorns on September 19.

Not sure why Tech decided to move their game with Texas up this early in the season. Historically, the Red Raiders start slow in seasons they have to break in a new quarterback and they'll only have two games to prepare for the Horns.

...and it's in Austin...

But Potts will have his chance to make his mark on the national stage early if he can pull off what would be the upset of the season in week 3.

The very next week, Potts and the Raiders will be in Houston to face the incredibly prolific Cougars led by Case Keenum.

Keenum has received some early Heisman talk in various national publications due to his impressive numbers from 2008.

Another really tough test for Potts, but if he can somehow roll through that stretch unscathed, he'll be in the Heisman race and the Red Raiders will be ranked up near the Top 5.

McCoy and Keenum won't meet this year, but maybe they'll meet up sometime in the NFL??

Those two weeks so early in the season will make me proud to be a resident of the Big Country.

Three of "our boys" will be performing on a stage being viewed by millions of Americans. And I won't make any quarantees at this point about who will win those games, but I can guarantee one thing:

No matter what happens, McCoy, Potts and Keenum will conduct themselves with class and an unwavering display of the character that should be envied by every other player and team in the country.

Those three guys families' should be proud, their friends should be proud, and everyone living in the Big Country should be proud of what they've accomplished...not to mention what they WILL accomplish in years to come.

We're getting closer to the season!!

Dallas Cowboys OTAs start tomorrow...

  • mark rogers
  • May 18, 2009 8:56 PM

May 11, 2009

QUINCY CARTER ARREST GETS ATTENTION IN DALLAS

Quincy Carter was arrested over the weekend for the second time this year on a warrant for violating his probation.

The arrest was mentioned on the Dallas Morning News website and was covered by some local media.

He immediately bonded out and was probably hoping that it wouldn't gain any attention.

And it might not have if Carter wasn't famous for getting booted off the Cowboys roster during training camp for an off-field incident involving illegal drugs a year after leading the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth.

He seemed a bit annoyed with Bryan Keating, the KTXS Sports Director, for covering the story.

When you're as notorious as Quincy Carter is for getting into trouble off the field, you have to understand that just because you're in Abilene doesn't mean the local media will ignore newsworthy stories.

I'm all for turning things around, and I sincerely hope Quincy does great with the Ruff Riders. It seems that he's at least trying, which is more than I can say for some other professional athletes who've fallen from the lime light.

I'll give Mr. Carter alot of credit for working hard and doing what he can to make the most of his talents and situation...but the Abilene media will respond to off-field issues...just like anywhere else.

  • mark rogers
  • May 11, 2009 11:33 PM

GAME SPEED IS A DIFFERENT WORLD

You'll hear tons of talk surrounding the 40 yard dash at every level of competitive football. It's an important measure of explosion, acceleration and speed.

But it's not a true measure of "game" speed...which, if I'm not mistaken, is really the only thing that matters in the realm of speed.

The only problem is you can't simulate game speed at a combine or any other testing site...especially when you're not wearing football cleats or pads on every part of your body.

Now, that's not to say that a fast 40 time won't or doesn't translate to the field...but sometimes a good football player won't have a great 40 time, but can blaze during games.

I played with a guy in high school who barely ran under a 5.0 40 yard dash, but he was an all-state corner back because he was smart, explosive and could change direction at an amazing speed.

Those things aren't measured in running a straight line.

Another case in point...Dallas Cowboys' draft pick Michael Hamlin, a safety out of Clemson, ran down Darrius Heyward-Bey during the 2008 regular season.

Why is that significant? Heyward-Bey ran the fastest time at the combine this year. Hamlin ran a 4.62 and was one of the slowest safeties timed.

But if you YouTube "Darrius Heyward-Bey Runs Through Death Valley"...you'll see what I'm talking about.

Heyward-Bey runs a reverse and is seemingly gone on an 80 yard touchdown run. Hamlin runs him down from behind...

Coaches and talent evaluators pick up that kind of stuff and it's why a team might get a bad grade from the "experts" who only look at the measurable stuff when, in actuality, the player has football speed and will become a decent NFL player.

Anyway, just my two cents on measurables vs. immeasurables.

Before Howie Long was drafted by the Raiders, he wasn't asked to bench press, run a 40 or do any drills.

They told him to strap on the pads and go sack the quarterback, which is what he did for 13 years...and ended up in the Hall of Fame.

  • mark rogers
  • May 11, 2009 11:16 PM

MAVS GETTING MAULED

I know, I know...BigCountryFootball.com...but I'm sitting here watching the Denver Nuggets beat the Mavs senseless.

The only thing that's missing is a lead pipe and some brass knuckles.

The amount of physical contact away from the ball in these four games has been substantial...not to mention the contact around the ball.

I guess the Denver Nuggets miss football season, too and are giving us an early taste.

If the Dallas Mavericks were a person, he would be waking up in a filthy and abandoned alley in the morning and think he was one of the Jonas brothers...

  • mark rogers
  • May 11, 2009 11:11 PM

May 3, 2009

ANYONE ELSE AGAINST A PLAYOFF?

I'm beginning to think I'm the only college football fan left on the planet that is against implementing a playoff to end the season.

I'm not necessarily saying the BCS is perfect or that I'm even a fan of the BCS. What I'm saying is I'm all for the bowl system and keeping things the way they are for the time being...if there are changes, they just need to be small ones.

I think I have an interesting and unique perspective on college football - I went to a Division II school, have no true Division I (or FBS) allegiance, and would be just as happy watching Texas/OU, Florida/Georgia or Ball State/Toledo.

Last season I averaged watching 30 games every Saturday...not to mention the games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

I say all that just to say that I feel like I have a broad perspective on all things college football. For goodness sakes I can name every Heisman Trophy winner in two minutes with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back hanging upside down.

The current system is interesting. It's dramatic. It makes the regular season the best of any sport in the country. And it's a tradition. Bowls have been around since the early part of last century...since the dawn of college football.

I do believe that there are certain things in life that need to be amended or revamped every now and then. Things like balding men just going ahead and shaving it off instead of trying to hide it or fixing my sprinkler heads to actually spray my lawn instead of the street in front of my house. 

But taking college football and jamming a playoff down its throat would be like making Navy SEALS eat marshmallows, sing Barney songs and wear Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas...it just wouldn't seem right.

Another thing that irks me is hearing our President (who's pro-playoff) say he hasn't talked to a single college football fan who isn't in favor of a playoff...he clearly hasn't spoken to me. And I clearly should be the Secretary of Sports in his Cabinet. He hasn't asked me yet. Still waiting for the call.

The scary thing to me is that President Obama is the type of person and leader whose opinion and encouragement could actually change the system. Of course that's only scary to me because I don't want that to happen.

There are probably millions of people out there who hope that the change is made.

Many of those who want a playoff are fans or supporters of small conference schools like Utah, Boise State, TCU and BYU.

One of those schools is usually in the BCS picture and whining that they should have a shot at the title. Well, they shouldn't.

You can't tell me and will never be able to tell me that a 12-0 Utah team (even one that beat Alabama) is on the same level as Texas, Florida or USC. They don't have the money, the talent or the schedules to match up.

And the wins by Boise State and Utah over major powers OU and Alabama lately don't hold any water for me. Last year Utah went undefeated playing in a pedestrian conference and had everything to gain by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

On the other hand, Alabama didn't lose a regular season game in the toughest, most brutal, viscous and hard-hitting conference in the country...battling week after week after week. And were coming off an emotionally destructive loss to Florida in the SEC Championship game that ruined their chances to win a national title. They weren't themselves.

Same scenario for Boise State and OU in the Broncos win in the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago. But that's a whole separate issue for a whole separate article.

What I'm trying to say in this post is that every week during the regular season means something in college football. Ohio State/USC this year will have national title implications. If a playoff were the case, a loss in that game wouldn't be nearly as detrimental.

Making the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls the first games in an eight game playoff would ruin the tradition and prestige of those bowls and diminish the usually glorious end of the season.

A playoff wouldn't end the whining or "unfairness" of the bowl system...in an eight team playoff, the ninth, tenth and eleventh ranked teams would all be picketing outside the Playoff Selection Committee's headquarters.

In a 12 team playoff it would be the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth...and on and on and on.

So let's not just make the change for the sake of giving everybody a Charlie Brown fair chance.

The other type of "Pro-Playoffer" is the person who likes college football, but isn't IN LOVE with college football.

Men, it's like you would have no problem watching one of your friends get his head shaved against his will as a prank...you'd probably think that was pretty funny. You'd laugh and point and go on about your business when the show was over.

But if it was your WIFE...someone you LOVED...you would do everything in your power to keep her head from being shaved for a silly prank. You would risk your neck because you know your life would be miserable for a long time (and her's would, too of course).

That's how it is with me and college football...I love the season the way it is and know that changing to a playoff system (aka "shaving her head for no good reason") would be terrible and not fun for anyone.

So let's keep a unique, intense and exceptional season the way it works best...the way it's always been done. A true recipe for legends, glory, fame, heroes and drama...college football in it's natural form - the bowl system.

And let's keep the playoffs working where they work best...everywhere else.

  • mark rogers
  • May 3, 2009 10:32 PM