Practice? You're talkin' about practice?
• Alabama Wins Spring National Championship! Sometimes the absurdity of reality renders parody obsolete. So I don't have anything to say about 92,000 people selling out Bryant-Denny Stadium for a pointless scrimmage. It confirms everything I've ever known about the unprecedented frenzy in that state, and is reassuring in its way.
• Quarterbacks On the Run! Seventy-five thousand people showed up to Ohio Stadium to watch Todd Boeckman, Rob Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton run for their lives. The trio was sacked a combined six times and Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporter Doug Lesmerises counted 19 impromptu scrambles to 21 completed passes.
• Cotton Bowl's Last Stand! The decrepit old stadium was left for dead with the impending loss of the actual bowl game and the Red River Shootout, but the $30 million in taxpayer-funded improvements set for this November - on top of $20 million worth of renovations already completed in the last few years - was enough to secure the latter in Dallas through 2015. That's a five year extension on the current contract. Tickets to last year's OU-Texas game cost $100, according to the Norman Transcript, which with 14,000 more seats planned equals $1.4 million more for each school in ticket sales. The Dallas Morning News says the lucre could be a lot more than that.
• Booker Bummed By Bowden Blunders! Super-talented Lorenzo Booker still wonders how he made it through five years under Jeff Bowden, where 8,000 yards of brilliant blue chippery are magically compressed into 1,036. Or something like that. At any rate, he expects the NFL to be much kinder to his abilities than his old coordinator.
If Booker does succeed in the League, he'll be in a small club of ACC skill players. The News-Observer asks, "What's up with all the linemen"? In between Torry Holt in 1998 and Calvin Johnson last year, the ACC Offensive Players of the Year were, in order: Joe Hamilton, Chris Weinke, Bruce Perry, Matt Schaub, Philip Rivers, Bryan Randall (!) and Chris Barclay. And Willie Parker wasn't good enough to play!
At least some of the lineman are demonstrating a next-level penchant for speed.
• Everyone Goes Back to School Eventually: The hunt for the next Pete Carroll has colleges more frequently raiding NFL assistants to find head coaches. The Denver Post sees Troy Calhoun, Tim Brewster, Nick Saban, Butch Davis, Jeff Jagodzinski and Derek Dooley (new boss at Louisiana Tech...but you knew that) and thinks, "five makes a trend! Print it, Smitty!" But two of those guys, Saban and Davis, are college coaches at heart who, like Carroll, are at their best among the kids. Who wouldn't want to be welcomed back to a tree-lined campus, where you have a track record, a monster salary and free reign to install your own cult of personality?
• Branch Not Driven Crazy - But Too Close! Children and small pets of New Mexico, be wary and swift. For some reason, Mel Kiper's been down on Michigan's monster defensive tackle, and Allan Branch doesn't like it. Kiper projects Branch in the top dozen picks but has been repeatedly calling him "inconsistent," questioning his production and every down effort and limiting his assets to "a big body." A big body that completely dominated while commanding double and triple teams from literally everyone in the middle of the best run defense in the nation. At least Branch has kept his jolly sense of humor:
Ha ha! It was only a minor dislocation.
Such a delightful comedian, that Branch.
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• A sideline is no place for a four-year-old with no attention span, as one family found out the hard way Saturday at Colorado State when receiver George Hill ran over a small child playing as part of a "kids festival" near the end zone. The boy was recovering from a "deep cut" Sunday but showed no neurological damage or fractures and was released from the hospital.
• Syracuse Mum on Blatantly Obvious! Andrew Robinson has all the signs of a starting quarterback at Syracuse, which for the Orangemen over the last eight years has meant inconsistency and shuffling in and out of the lineup with more athletic but ultimately even less effective upstarts. Maybe that's why Greg Robinson is so afraid to actually say the `S' word, but the sophomore ran all day Saturday with the first offense and is "using the proper throw for the proper situation most of the time," which must be some kind of leap.
Also of note at the Orange and Blue game: officials stopped play twice to review calls, then didn't even overturn them.
• Anderson Makes It A Little Dusty In Here! UConn fullback Deon Anderson has had a tough road - some of the bumps self-inflicted - including an entire semester living in an old locker room on campus and keeping a change of clothes in a friend's car when he was taken off scholarship as a junior. He can make more comfortable arrangements with his new wife if his name is called in New York next weekend.
• Quickly: No-contact? Navy's defense does not do no-contact, even when it's already deprived Spring onlookers of starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada; Chase Daniel: six-foot quarterback, screwaround, easily distracted by animation; Tyler Donovan and K-State transfer Allan Evridge are in a dead heat for Wisconsin's quarterback job, but Jake Locker is emerging as the man in Washington; Best vs. best, Louisville's defense was better than Brian Brohm Friday; Holy crap, a football player is actually smart? And getting an MBA?; It's not up to him, but "feral" Miami fullback James Bryant is transferring from Coral Gables after multiple suspensions over three years; Virginia wants Andrew Pearman, brother of ex-UVA star Alvin, back on the team this fall; Ray Rice already eschewing crutches after minor ankle surgery; and Dustin Grutza took control of Brian Kelly's spread in Cincinnati.