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Clarksville Tn – Current Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman Josh Brent and former Major League Baseball catcher, and Hall of Famer, Carlton Fisk are the latest of a series of professional athletes who have run-ins with the law after driving and drinking.
Which bring this question to my mind every time it happens – what were they thinking?
For that matter, what does anyone think when they drink and drive?
Now no one should drive after drinking alcohol, but especially athletes who for one have the money to hire drivers, or use services that teams/leagues use to keep this from happening, or some other means other than getting behind the wheel of a car. This past Thursday, Fisk pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI Thursday in Will County (Ill.), while Brent was arrested and indicted on Wednesday on one count of intoxication manslaughter after driving with a suspended license and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the car crash that killed teammate and friend Jerry Brown. And the shame of it all is that neither incident had to happen, but if you think they were isolated acts you would be wrong.
Just in 2012, there have been 15 National Football League players – including big names like Michael Turner (Falcons), Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Raiders) and the Tennessee Titans own Kenny Britt have been arrested on DUI charges. You can also add the NBA’s Jason Kidd and MLB’s Bobby Jenks and Alex Wright among more than a several athletes in their respective sports that were charged with DUIs.
The NFL does provide a no-questions-asked transportation services for players who had too much to drink. It a service that all current and former players can use on a 24-hour-per-day basis and it’s a confidential program, with no connection to the league or any teams, and available to any location in the 50 states or Canada by calling the appropriate 800 number.
The cost … $90 an hour.
Major League Baseball players union has also talked about a service similar to the NFL’s, but as of right now no service is officially in place.
So for $90 an hour there shouldn’t be a problem right?
Plenty of folks, both in football and elsewhere, who earn a lot of money are too cheap to pay $90 per hour for the service. There needs to be more pressure put of professional athletes, and people in general for that matter, to not drink and drive. Until then you will have more players in trouble with the law or in case of Brown – in a funeral.
Clarksville Tn – Everyone growing up has been schooled about the virtues of sportsmanship, be it in sports or in other kinds of competition, but earlier this week a 107-2 victory by Bloomington (Ind.) South High School girls basketball team over Arlington (Ind.) has brought the question of sportsmanship back to the forefront of discussion on a national level.
This isn’t the first time a huge blowout win by a team has brought this question up, and it won’t be the last, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that sportsmanship – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s a common dilemma in blowout games, when — and how — should teams let up?
Now before I go much further, I just want to make it clear that I’m not one of those persons that feel that everyone should get a trophy at the end of the season and a pat on the back saying you’re the best thing since sliced bread, even though you didn’t win a game all year. But I am a person that feels sportsmanship today isn’t quite the same as the sportsmanship I was brought up with, and in this case the change may not be for the good.
Nowadays, you see lopped-sided scores in many sports and people never think twice about it, even at the college and professional levels, but when you see a 107-2 type of final margin it gets your attention. When is enough, enough. When does common sense show up?
Yes, Bloomington’s coach played all of his players and rotated them in and out, and no you don’t want to tell your team not to play hard. But in a game with no mercy-rule — the Indiana High School Athletic Association doesn’t have a mercy-rule — like some state high school associations have, including Tennessee, common sense say’s a 105-point win is unsportsmanlike.
To score 107 points in a high school basketball game you have to average 3.34 points per minute for the entire game to finish with that total, so that means three or four shots per minute – at least. The Bloomington coach said he didn’t tell his girls to stop shooting because that would have been more embarrassing and that Arlington was playing an aggressive 2-3 zone defense.
How aggressive was it if you scored 107 points?
Here is where common sense should have taken over.
Set up individual things to work on like getting the ball to a specific area on the court, making eight or nine passes before a shot, working on reversing the ball, no 3-point shot attempts or fast breaks, practice on their weakest moves, work on off handed dribbling, and offhand shots. These are just a few things a team can still work hard on during a game, which they would still win by a wide margin despite these actions.
The coach at Bloomington South was put in a tough situation, but he also had a great opportunity to display grace and he failed to take advantage of that chance. He could use the game as a teaching moment — to show what sportsmanship is about .
Clarksville Tn – It took 19 days and several “no’s” from other possible coaching candidates before the University of Tennessee found its next head football coach in Cincinnati’s Lyle Allen “Butch” Jones, Jr. But as hard as it turned out in getting a new coach, now the real work begins on Rocky Top.
True, the Volunteers have a long and storied past when it comes to football, with six national championships, 49 bowl appearances and 25 bowl wins, but you have to go back to 2008 — and a 21-17 victory over Wisconsin — for its last postseason victory and back another 10 years for its last Southeastern Conference and overall national championship season in 1998. In fact it’s gotten so bad of late for the football program in Knoxville it has suffered through its first three consecutive-seasons under .500 finishes since the 1909-11 campaigns.
Still Jones came out and said the Tennessee job was his dream job, but it will be an up-hill “fixer-upper” effort to bring the Vols back to its former SEC power position. He won’t have a lot of time to do it, as this is prime recruiting time, the lifeblood of any successful program. The 44-year old must start out showing the fanbase, alumni and supporters he will bring back stability and order to the program – something that has been lacking at times during the Derek Dooley era.
Along with reinvigorating the fan base, he must retain and hire a quality coaching staff with University of Tennessee ties, or at the very least ties to the southeastern part of the country because he himself doesn’t have many ties to the southeast so he needs coaches that do.
Sure, Jones needs to assemble a staff he is comfortable with, but former Vol standout Jay Graham served on Dooley’s staff as a running backs coach and would likely be one that could stay on staff; as well as offensive line coach Sam Pittman – both are player favorites and quality coaches. Another name that has been bantered around as a possible addition to the coaching staff is Tee Martin, who quarterbacked the 1998 national championship team and is currently on the USC staff.
As for recruiting, National Signing Day is less than two months away – which is tough enough already — and presents a difficult challenge for a new coach taking over a program. Luckily, it looks like Tennessee has been able to hold on to its 18 committed prospects that Dooley recruited, but those players — and other prospects — were waiting to see who would be brought in.
Tennessee is in good position with several top prospects (Vonn Bell/5-star safety, Marquez North/4-star wide receiver, Derrick Green/5-star running back among others), but it’s crunch time and now that’s Jones is on board, he must get out there and sell himself and the program.
Only time will tell if he was the right coach, but I think Tennessee could have done a lot worst.
Clarksville Tn – Sometimes when things aren’t going well you have to fall back, regroup and hope that by doing that you can fix at least some of the things you have been struggling with and move forward in a positive manner. That is what Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak hopes after this week’s firing of offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, who he replaced with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains. Munchak better hopes the move works, because it may be the last major decision he makes as head coach after team owner Bud Adams came out earlier this season saying all aspects of the organization will be evaluated – from the front office, players, coaches, ect.
But even after that edict by Adams, the Titans squad that has been more Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll in a season where most people thought they would at least battle for a wildcard spot in the playoffs, but now look to just stay ahead of the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars for the cellar spot in the American Football Conference’s South Division. They still have an out-, out-, out-side chance of a wildcard spot if they win out, but after a horrific performance versus the aforementioned Jaguars last Sunday, which came off a blowout-win over Miami two weeks ago and a bye week last week, something had to be done to stem the tide of disfavor by Tennessee fans.
Munchak had to sacrifice something or someone and it was Palmer, but it won’t be enough to right a team that has drastically underperformed their talent level.
While most fans won’t miss Palmer and his offensive schemes, there is no quick fix for what ails Tennessee. Yes, the Titans (4-7, 0-3 in the division) entered the season feeling they had more talent at the skill positions — and they do — than at any point since the franchise relocated to Tennessee before the 1997 season, but instead they look like Titans teams of old by getting down into the Red Zone but coming up with field goals and not touchdowns
But it’s been more than that for the Titans.
The defense can’t put any pressure on the opposing teams quarterbacks – they rarely blitz – and the play of the special teams – once a strength of the team – is now shaky at best. Also, there seems to be no turn to leader on the sideline to get into people’s faces and demand better efforts and not just accepting below-average play and efforts like a Steve McNair or a Keith Bullock would do in the past. But at this point of the season only so much can be done, because the Titans are in a transition period and they don’t really have an identity on either side of the ball and every team that is a true playoff contender has that – needs that.
This week the Titans face the AFC-leading Houston Texans followed by the Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, and Jacksonville to close out the season. Only the Jets and Jacksonville look like teams left on the schedule that the Titans can hope to beat at this point, which would put them 6-10 and nowhere near the playoff picture.
I like coach Munchak, but a 6-10 season after the owner all but said that heads will roll will at best put him in murky waters as far as coming back for a third season as head coach.
As I start this, I want to be up front with you right from the beginning; I am a Notre Dame fan and have been since the days of watching coach Ara Parseghian and Lindsey Nelson on the Notre Dame Football Show back in the 1960’s before going to church on Sundays.
Now with that out of the way.
I understand that Notre Dame football is like the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball, the New England Patriots in the National Football League, the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League and Duke in college basketball – people either love them of hate them — there is little if any middle ground. But most fans will also tell you that when these teams are good and winning titles, or at least in the running for a championship, their sport is better.
Such is the case with the Irish.
Not since 1988, under Lou Holtz, have the Irish won a national championship and not since the early 1990’s has Notre Dame football even been considered among the elite of the college football world – despite two 10-win seasons in 2002 and 2006.
People felt Notre Dame football had become irrelevant on the college football landscape and the Irish fan base unrealistic dreams of days gone by, a fight song, old movies of past glories and a TV deal — that other schools could only dream of that was undeserved.
Notre Dame was too proud, too highbrow and with expectations in the classroom that wouldn’t, couldn’t work in today’s world of college athletics and still expect championships.
I admit the Irish have made some mistakes over the years since their last national championship, but this team – which started the season unranked in one poll and No. 24 in the other, is 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, with only a beaten-down USC standing between them and a shot at the national championship.
Not possible right?
Well, coach Brian Kelly – in his third season — has the Irish poised for not only a title this season, but in position to have a consistent team in the national title hunt for the long haul. Still, hate is what millions of college football fans have toward Notre Dame and they root against the Irish no matter what. But it’s that emotion that Notre Dame drives that has kept the program relevant and now being a win away from playing for the national championship … there will be more attention on this title game than any other in the history of the BCS and TV ratings too.
All I’m saying is this; other national powers, including Alabama the prohibitive favorite to face the Irish for the BCS Championship have had slumps and no, Notre Dame isn’t going to run off with multiple national championships, like in the 40s and 60s. But the Irish are still the Irish and the game is at its best when the blue bloods of the sport are winning.
Notre Dame is among that group, it’s time to stop hating and accept it.
Clarksville Tn – With the NASCAR Sprint Cup series coming to an end this weekend at Homestead, Fla., one story that is being overlooked for the most part is that Danica Patrick is becoming a better Sprint Cup driver than most people thought she would … or at least quicker.
Patrick, who ran a limited 10 race schedule in the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing in a collaborative agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, finished in a season-best 17th-place at Phoenix International Raceway this past Sunday and could have finished even higher if not for being spun out by Jeff Burton on lap 312.
But still, it was her best finish of her limited schedule is the Sprint Cup Series and marked the eighth time in her 10 races that she had finished better than where she qualified – including in each of her final five races.
Now I’m not saying she going to be in line for a spot in the chase next year, but I can see that Patrick and her race team have picked up a lot of momentum — and along with early positive chemistry and results with new crew chief Tony Gibson the sky could be the limit for the Roscoe, Ill. native — as they get ready for a full-time series schedule in 2013.
There are still questions about her racing.
One is her temper which has gotten her into some scrapes with other drivers this season, but with what transpired this past weekend between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer it can happen to seasoned drivers too.
Second is Patrick’s sometime difficulty in handing the much larger and heavier NASCAR vehicles, which has led to some contact with over drivers with disastrous results and early finishes for the rookie driver.
But Patrick has gained experience in each lap she has run this season and you can see a noticeable improvement in her being able to control the car and avoiding the kind of contact that has knocked her out of races early this year.
With all of that being said, I think Danica will finish around 20th in the point standings in 2013 and maybe a chance at the top 15 finish – but it’s the 2014 season I would watch out for.
Patrick has great sponsors with deep pockets – a must if you’re going to compete — a solid car owner in Tony Stewart, a crew chief that she is clicking with and experience running full schedule.
My prediction for 2014 … Danica will finish in the top 10 in the point standings and be in the Chase for the championship.