Regular readers will note this is new. Coverage elsewhere will retain its, uh, eclectic nature, but the dozens of stories every week that don't fit into that mix need a home at SMQ, too. The long lost "Rap Sheet" will fall here from now on. Chalk this up to maniacal compartmentalization or something, and its lateness this morning to tiny, tiny html problems I couldn't find and Scoop refused to allow.
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• NUTT SPEAKS! Call a man incompetent, challenge his hiring practices, make fun of his hat if you must, but dammit, examining a man's text messaging records? Houston Nutt says that's un-American:
Some have raised questions about the number of text messages and phone calls reflected in my cell phone records. Text messaging is one of my primary modes of communication on a daily basis. Often times, a text message consists of a single word, a quick thought or simply a thank you to a well-wisher. Those who know me would not be surprised by the number of text messages in my phone records. I regret, however, that, for people who do not know me, the number of text messages may have created false impressions and questions concerning my private life.
When these rumors first arose, I wanted to obtain the content of my text messages and share them with the public because I have nothing to hide. At my request, my personal attorney attempted to find out if the contents of the text messages sent and received from my phone were available from the telephone company. I was disappointed to learn that the records were unavailable.
At least a couple of those records are available, of course, here.
Teresa Prewitt, naturally, is already dead to me.
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Otherwise, I maintain Nutt specfically and the good people of Arkansas generally are not actually obsessed sociopaths, on the whole, as evidenced by the incredibly small number of them so far with the time or interest to picket the head of a team that just won more games than it's won in any season since it joined its current conference in the middle of a weekday, file FOIA requests or fire off shockingly mean-spirited e-mails to teenagers. Nutt says he sent more than a thousand messages to a TV anchor "concern[ing] her work as a professional fundraiser for a non-profit organization... her insights regarding the media, words of condolence and support regarding the loss of my mother-in-law...and information relating to her close friend who was diagnosed with cancer," and OK, I'll go with it. But they're all on notice, frankly, for a mass psychological assessment possibly overdue by years. Or decades. Is this really a new breed of Arkansas fan? Have you ever been to Arkansas? All you know about Arkansas is that Bill Clinton was once the governor. But these people wear plastic pigs on their heads. Who knows what they may be capable of. The legislature "calls the hogs" in unison. We may find in retrospect Houston Nutt has tapped into a deep, statewide psychosis dwelling in obscurity since the Civil War, waiting for the perfect conflagration of leisure time, marginal success and the 24 hour news cycle to reveal its horrible tusks to the rest of the country. Choose your next words wisely, Arkansas.
• Ex-Hokies Nearly React! Former Va Tech center Jim Pyne was willing to tell a reporter Monday's massacre was "a reflection of society that one guy gets guns he shouldn't have in the first place and does something like this. It's the world we're living in," but Michael Vick and DeAngelo Hall remained in tight-lipped, cliche microphone mode.
Tech's Spring game Saturday, of course, is cancelled, but Susan Miller Dengan in The Miami Herald talks to Hurricane players and coaches and suggests "sports could lift spirits" at Tech, whose baseball team is visiting Miami this weekend. South Florida gun jokes are verbotten, for once. Across town, the Palm Beach Post talks to a wary, waiting Miami native and outgoing Hokie David Clowney. Wisconsin players weigh in on their shooting-induced insecurity here. In Maryland, Ralph Friedgen spoke to his team about the shootings, thinks "it could happen anywhere" and notes, "it just seems to be happening more and more." Stephen Pinker respectfully disagrees.
Whoa! Slow it down, Einstein! It's only April!
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• We Think Too Much and Feel Not Enough!: Charlie Chaplin's stand-in for "The Great Dictator" would be pleased with Mike Bellotti's emphasis on his offense "not thinking too much" as it adjusts to new coordinator Chip Kelly. Dennis Dixon, for one, appears only happy to oblige.
The Portland Tribune also points out that, this time last year, the Ducks' new punter weighed 265 pounds.
• Callahan Resists Temptation to Unleash Illegal Genius!: Oh, how would he love to put two quarterbacks on the field, but Bill Callahan's always been "a one-quarterback guy" (how noble - ed.) and says that won't happen for Nebraska. Sam Keller and underdog Joe Ganz will battle into the start of fall practice. Where has Keller heard that before?
• Talib Swings Both Ways! It's really just a lot of talk while the talkin's good, but if it were up to Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, he'd never leave the field. He scored on his only catch of 2006. Kansas finished dead last in the nation in pass defense last year and is likely to keep its best secondary player focused on defense in the fall, but wholesale changes can never hurt the absolute worst, can they? The Jayhawks need a little firepower on offense, too - though they may have already found it.
• Recovering, Hopefully: Arizona State cornerback Chad Green was in "critical and guarded condition" Tuesday after a car accident early Sunday morning left the senior with "a closed head wound...some face fractures and some swelling on his brain," according to ASU physician Steven Erickson (presumably no relation to coach Dennis). CAT scans and MRI exam results show some bleeding, and the East Valley Tribune called Green "unresponsive." The uninjured driver of the car that hit Green's was charged with drunk driving, but it hadn't been determined Tuesday whether Green - apparently turning into a fast food restaurant - had been drinking.
Three million for the Incarnate Word but nothing for Nate Clements? Grrr...
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• Team Incarnate!: San Antonio's University of the Incarnate Word announced Tuesday it would field the city's first scholarship college football program since the 1970s (the city's Division III college, Trinity, now plays without scholarships). UIW's facility, set to break ground in June, is being underwritten by New Orleans Saints owner and San Antonio bigwig Tom Benson - who likely would have kept the Saints in his hometown following Hurrican Katrina if not for the NFL's heavy-handed guidance - and hopes to compete in Division II by 2009. The San Antonio Express-News wonders if the tiny school can handle it.
• Woods Demoted! Does Mike Leach care if you finished first in the Big 12 Conference last season in all-purpose yardage, second in rushing touchdowns and fourth in rushing yards per game? Mike Leach does not. The coach mercurially demoted "running back" Shannon Woods (he caught 75 passes last year) to third team, behind a walk-on, because he said ""I didn't think he competed very hard...Somebody asked me if stats from last year register for anything this year. Well, they don't. Of course, they don't, because you don't get any points out of them and you don't get any results out of them for this year. Right now, he's third team."
• Quickly: Bruce Davis, Sack Machine, knows his days at defensive end are numbered; Demetrius Jones has more on his mind than beating out Jimmeh Clausen for Notre Dame's quarterback job; Huddle up with Texas Tech receiver L.A. Reed; Austin Scott is anxious to run again as Penn State's starter after more than a year without a carry; Slim down with 370-pound Washington tackle Morgan "House" Rosborough as he protects frontrunning quarterback Jake Locker in situational drills; and beware "blights" everywhere on the other side of the Apple State.
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Alerted, Rutgers' athletic department, by the mother of a victim of recently dismissed recruit Reggie Dixon, who said she "repeatedly warned" the school during the recruiting process about Dixon's two juvenile convictions for sexual assault. "I called Rutgers so many times," she told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I spoke with a lot of people in the athletic department, and every one of them pushed me off on someone else."
Arrested, after what the Austin American-Statesman dubbed a "dispute over his baggy pants," former Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin. The current Viking (of Minnesota, that is, not Lubbock) was allegedly thrown out of a club early Sunday for violating its waist-high dress code and getting into "a dustup" with bouncers. Griffin was charged with disorderly conduct and stuck with a whopping $50 bail.
Serving, the final half of his 90-day sentence, ex-N.C. State star Koren Robinson, who is working under electronic monitoring in a Wisconsin hospital for the next 45 days. The butterfingered Packers/Seahawks/Vikings bust was arrested for fleeing police in Minnesota last August. He's paying $20 a day for the monitor.