Archive for April, 2008

Prime to the Time

April 16, 2008

The answer to two separate and ongoing questions appear to now be one in the same…

  1. Where will Deion Sanders show up next?
  2. What B- or C-list celebrity will be next in line to get a reality show?

Said answer comes in the form of a reality show on the Oxygen ‘network’ entitled: “Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love.”  That’s obviously the logical next step after playing for four MLB and & NFL franchises (including the Redskins), recording an ‘album,’ serving as a talking head for CBS, NFL Network, ESPN, hosting Saturday Night Live & the Miss USA Pageant, appearing as himself on “Moesha,” “Walker Texas Ranger,” and “Arli$$,” polickticking for an NFL head coaching gig, ‘mentoring’ DeAngelo Hall, Devin Hester, and Noel Devine, becoming part-owner of an Arena Football League franchise, allegedly urging a rape victim’s mother not to report the crime, and causing a stir with a column on Michael Vick in a Fort Myers, FL newspaper which included these nuggets:

“I have three highly-trained protection German shepherds, just in case someone wants to rob my family. Believe me, you don’t want to deal with them. With one German command, our dog Yascho turns into Cujo. And for the record, I live around the corner from the police station, so it won’t take them long to show up and save you from the dogs.”

“I believe Vick had a passion for dogfighting. I know many athletes who share his passion. The allure is the intensity and the challenge of a dog fighting to the death. It’s like ultimate fighting, but the dog doesn’t tap out when he knows he can’t win. It reminds me of when I wore a lot of jewelry back in the day because I always wanted to have the biggest chain or the biggest, baddest car. It gives you status.” 

For details on the show, see reviews in the New York Times, New York Daily News, and on espn.com (featuring an interview with Prime).

Spring Football: April 11

April 11, 2008

Monday’s RTD features an article on DE Sean Gottschalk, and his road back from shoulder surgery.  He was the #4 DE behind Long, Fitzgerald, and Alex Field, seeing 101 snaps.  He has not participated much this Spring, but expects to be 100% by August.  RS freshman Matt Conrath has taken his place.  Both field and Conrath are listed at 6-7 (Gottschalk is 6-4), and would dwarf whomever is in at NT – Nate Collins at 6-2 or Nick Jenkins at 6-3.

 

The Daily Progress and Daily Press start the week off with a profile of another player battling back from injury.  Cedric Peerman admits some days are good while others have been bad on his road to full recover from a Lisfranc / toe injury.  HC Al Groh, was typically Grohlike when describing his ‘see it to believe it’ approach on injury recoveries and estimated recovery timetables:

 

“That’s like some guy telling you, if you invest with me, it’s going to go up 20 percent. And you believe him, but you’re still waiting for the money in your pocket. Well that’s what it sort of is with some of these medical prognoses. We believe them, but until a player actually comes back and functions, you’re always anxious for that.”

 

With J’Courtney Williams kicked off the team last week, those vying for the backup ILB spots behind starters John Copper & Antonio Appleby include John Bivens, Darren Childs and Terrence Fells-Danzer, as well as former OLB John-Kevin Dolce.

 

On the kicking front, Jeff White notes in Thursday’s RTD that “leg strength isn’t an issue with [PK Chris] Hinkebein, but his problems with accuracy are similar to those Gould had as a junior.”  In four field goal attempts against a live rush last Sunday, two were blocked and two were missed.

 

Groh was again in typical form when giving his initial impressions of new DC Bob Pruett, who he already knows very well.  He told the Daily Progress “the only way I would have gotten any surprises by what he’s doing right now is to have had a loss of memory.”

 

LB Jon Copper called Pruett “lighter side of coach Groh, but with a similar intensity, which is nice.”  Read: personable.  In terms of recruiting, Groh offered that Pruett has “had excellent success recruiting a lot of players to schools where he coached from Virginia.” Groh pointed out. “He knows how to get to schools and if people have stayed in coaching as long as he has, he’ll know a lot of coaches.”

 

The DP also offers this on Saturday’s contest: “It is unclear what format will be used for the spring game, but it is not expected to mirror an actual contest due to depth issues.“

 

Friday’s Roanoke Times reports that the QB spot may be more of a competition than most think.  The rotation during the open practices has “not necessarily favor the most experienced returnee, Peter Lalich.”  Quoting the head coach:

 

“Put it this way,” UVa head coach Groh said early in camp. “The [coaches are] probably the only people who haven’t anointed the quarterback yet, that have decided what we’ll do it on performance. So, therefore we’re giving all three quarterbacks similar turns in terms of reps and similar turns with each particular unit.”

 

Groh also sounded like he had 20-20 vision in hindsight regarding the burning of Lalich’s redshirt, or perhaps even foresaw the Sewell suspension:

 

“Clearly, Pete was in there well before his time, but there were a lot of circumstances that created that. One was the uncertainty over Jameel’s [surgically repaired] wrist. Then, we had this other eligibility circumstance that has always been looming out there. The prudent thing to do was to have somebody prepared to play in a game whenever that became necessary. In fact, we ended up winning a couple of games that we would have had difficulty winning without him.” 

CBI $$$

April 2, 2008

Upon accepting an invitation a few weeks back, the Virginia athletics department touted all the virtues that Alabama’s, Georgia Tech’s, Wake Forest’s, Penn State’s, and Missouri’s did not – student athletes are more important than money, continuing the season is worthwhile, even at a financial loss, etc.

Over the weekend, several local news outlets reported just how much of a loss the CBI proved to be.  There was s $60,000 price tag due to The Gazelle Group (the tournament’s organizers) for each home game.  Virginia sold more than 16,000 tickets collectively for the three home games, and of course generated parking concession revenue on top of ticket sales, but will likely be around $150,000 in the red.  The RTD cited executive associate AD Jon Oliver’s assertion that a win over ODU and a full three games in the best-of-three championship round could have upped the loss to as much as $300,000.

Extending the careers of the team’s seniors – most notably all-ACC guard Sean Singletary – was cited as a reason for participating both after the fact and upon accepting the invitation.  One has to wonder if the financial loss is in line with expectations going in, or if the athletics department saw the draw of additional Singletary home games and projected higher attendance figures…

Meanwhile, The Virginian-Pilot reports that ODU was able to negotiate a home game without the $60,000 price tag, under the conditions that all profits went to the Gazelle Group.

J-Court

April 2, 2008

WCAV reports that redshirt freshman linebacker J’Courtney Williams has been charged in connection with a larceny incident that occurred three weeks ago at the Aquatics and Fitness Center.  The former PrepStar All-American who was expected to contend for playing time at LB this season was charged with “one count of credit card theft and one count of credit card fraud.”

The arrest comes less than a month after JCW was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.  His license was suspended and the case continued for a year, pending successful completion of a pre-conviction probation program.

Those in the know will remember that retail opportunities within the AFC include not only the “Poolside Cafe” eatery (a division of Dining Services), but also TJ’s Locker – a division of the UVA Bookstore – which offers services like request re-stringing and film processing and sells shoes, sporting equipment, clothing, and goods (including but not limited to used DVD’s and greeting cards), along with.

There’s no mention of medicinal marijuana available for prescription or sale, although maybe Williams was looking to score some exercise equipment to help speed up his recovery from his 2007 shoulder surgery.

Spring Practice Quotes

April 2, 2008

Some selected quotes from the first handful of practices…

The Quarterback (Peter Lalich):

“I’m still working on it every day. I don’t think I’m ready for USC right now, but hopefully this summer.”“Playing last season definitely helped. I got a chance to see the speed of college football. You can’t really see that in practice. The game is a lot faster than practice.”

“I’m looking at it as that I have to win the job, that I have to come out every day and compete with the other quarterbacks. I think we’re all competing for the job and whoever does the best in the spring is going to have the best shot in the fall.”

“[Jameel Sewell is] just telling me what I need to do: Make sure I keep my head on straight and make sure I keep working hard.”

 The Running Back (Mikell Simpson):

“We all have confidence in Pete. When he was in there early in the year he proved he could play at this level. At the end he really wasn’t getting in, so he probably lost confidence, and he really didn’t take his job seriously. But now that he knows he has to be the man and carry us as far as we can go, I feel he’s going to take it seriously.”

“K.O. brings energy, and he’s that playmaker at the receiver spot that we were missing last year. We didn’t have that deep-ball threat.  Everybody (saw) that. That’s why they stacked eight and nine guys in the box. … Now that K.O. is back in the lineup, they’re gonna have to respect that.”

The Wide Receiver (Kevin Ogletree):

“No matter how deep I’m at, [Lalich is] accurate.”

“I feel comfortable with Pete, just knowing he can get me the ball wherever I’m at. He’s accurate, and that’s reassuring. That’s what we like to see out of quarterbacks. You know they’re going to put the ball where you need it to be.”

“[Practicing before the Gator Bowl was] definitely a blessing in disguise. It helped me realize how much football means to me and how much of an opportunity I have here. I really feel like I’m different than I was before, just as far as knowing what I want to do, knowing how hard I work (and) knowing what I want to get accomplished.”

The Head coach (Al Groh):

“[The quarterback] position has been moving positively on a daily basis. There’s been a little bit of a popcorn deal in that one of them each day is not quite as sharp as the other two.”

“Generally, the pass rush pressure they experience on the college level is different than anything they see in high school. A lot of times, if you watch top players’ high school tapes, there’s a lot of passes thrown with relatively little pressure on them. Even with the best college pockets, you can hold them out only so long, and that’s what [quarterbacks] have to experience.”

 The Assistant Coaches (Mike Groh, Bob Pruett, Anthony Poindexter, Wayne Lineburg, Bob Price, Dave Borbely, Levern Belin, Bob Diaco, Steve Bernstein):

“…”

   

Saturday’s RTD provided the following roster updates:

Spectators will note that several players are participating on a limited basis.

Those on the mend include offensive tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder), offensive guard Patrick Slebonick (shoulder), tight end Mark Ambrose (shoulder), linebacker John Bivens (knee) and linebacker J’Courtney Williams (shoulder).

Also, reserve tailback Keith Payne is being held out of spring drills to concentrate on his schoolwork. Payne rushed 58 times for 219 yards and two touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season.