Only a few scattered items today because it's getting on in the morning, and I'm looking to revamp the Hub into a more manageable feature as my schedule gets more crowded. One huge help: reader tips. I don't get many, but if you come across any interesting story during the day, a quick note to sundaymorningqb -at- yahoo would be endlessly appreciated.
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• Make 'em smile, kid. They got enough troubles already. Just give 'em a little softshoe and take a bow and take the tips. That's all, kid: Many writers can struggle for years with their first precious tome - why God, why hasn't Doubleday responded to my spec on "A Picture of Dorian Bryant!?" - but Hawaii receiver Ian Sample wasted no time turning his piece d' resistance on the inner circile of Warrior football into a real, fully marketed book of indeterminate profitability, Once a Warrior. As in, "Once a Warrior walked into a bar with a hooker to buy a bag of pot, a term paper and a clean urine sample," according to lost exerpts the just-graduated receiver posted on his MySpace blog:
Sample, who now plays professional football in Japan, wrote that he's "convinced the 'random' tests are not random at all."
"The higher ups definitely know what they are doing when they decide who will be tested," he wrote. "However, getting tested doesn't necessarily mean getting caught, every once in a while a player will side step a positive test result by flushing out their system (the real smokers know where to go to get a cleansing elixir)."
Sample, who had 54 catches for 690 yards and 10 touchdowns for Hawaii last season, wrote that when one of the random urine tests were conducted, "it's amazing that none of our valuable players are ever selected, especially the ones known for smoking weed."
"The players that are selected to go piss in a cup are the ones less valuable and the ones that have become a nuisance to coaches or the team," he wrote.
Sample wrote that marijuana was the drug of choice for the Warriors, but said he believed some players used steroids.
"Have people on the team taken steroids? Yes, they have," he wrote. "Sometimes it's obvious, you see someone improve over a couple months by leaps and bounds -- we all know it's naturally impossible. I think it's known but not really talked about."
Sample said he has never known anyone caught taking steroids, but has known several players caught with marijuana in their system.
As for the boozing, Sample acknowledged times when he attended practices feeling drunk, along with other players who would drink on a regular basis.
Sample wrote about wild groupies, including one female who wanted him to wear his uniform during sex. He said groupies were readily available, including on campus.
Sample also claimed that people on and off the team would do schoolwork for money.
"If the money is right, and it always is, they will 'help' us write papers; anything from simple response papers to 20-page research papers," Sample wrote. "Their 'help' is unlimited and completely unassisted."
He said the entire team knows about the services.
"The best part is that some of the coaches know all about it," he wrote. "I've even heard coaches openly applaud their work."
Sample - who paid his own way at Hawaii his first three years - apparently envisioned Once a Warrior as a muckraking expose´ of a willfully corrupt system, or at least create some buzz a la Playmakers or The Program. Clearly, he was right; the exerpt above is from an AP story in USA Today, about material that's not in a book you'd probably have never heard of otherwise. Anybody who caught even a little of Hawaii's ostentatiously freewheeling, tattooed, wild-haired, faux intellectual/shaman schtick could have guessed a great number of them partake, are 420 friendly, are cool, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But a lot of people assume groupies, drugs, "tutors" and skirting the peskier bureaucratic rules is part and parcel of being a major athlete, anyway, at pretty much any serious program, and unambiguous, firsthand confirmations of their conspiracy theories tend to be big sellers.
His publisher, though, seems to be looking for Rise of the Warrior: Inspiring Days and Mildly Comic Yet Affirmingly Wholesome Nights Inside the Team That Changed the Islands Forever:
"I had a certain vision what would be in this book and basically it would be a positive story about the UH football program and that's what we did," he said.
Engebretson wouldn't comment on Sample's possible motive to post the material on the Internet and said there are no plans of reprinting the book to include the omitted work.
"I don't think it really contributed to the story that Ian and I together wanted to tell," he said.
And, judging from the Hawaii reaction - the demographic most likely to be interested in the book either way - he was right. June Jones called Sample's drug testing allegations "a lie" and accused his former player of, and I paraphrase, "throwing the greatest kids in the world under the bus." On a real time chat hosted last week by the Honolulu Advertiser, Sample faced a barrage of opposition not so much intent on denying his claims as it was on shaming him for daring to cast the beloved program in a negative light. Some sample questions:
but after reading the filth of his so called edited chapters, i too am not making that procurement.
if i ever run into this young man, i will give him a piece of my mind for destroying what many have done for the good of the team. and to think that coach and the university have given you so much."
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"Saw you on TV this morning...
Are you trying to hurt the program by saying some of the things you did..."
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"...unlike being a witness to a murder your not doing it to solve a crime. Your choosing to capitalize on it for your own self benefit"
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"I understand.....it is one thing to be stereotyped of doing it, but its another to basically go out to the world to let others know that it is true.
I understand you don't believe nothing will become of it.....but if it does then how do we get a hold of you? Jus wondering."
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Sample: Shut your mouth and stick to stepping on facemasks, ya hack. We loved that.
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"You write above that you "wrote the book for them (your former teammates)".
As to the negative stuff. . . YOUR truth. . . .could you please explain how that stuff helps them right now??????"
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Jake Locker, Creat-a-Player: Speaking of which, a rare moment of message board perusing brought me across this thread by a Washington fan letting the Huskies' opening day opponents at SyracuseFan.com know what they're in for ("a real treat"):
The quotes heard were: "The best quarterback I have ever seen", "Jaw dropping speed", "Unbelievably fast", "This kid will surely contend and win the heisman soon", "Way better than I expected", "How can a kid so big and strong have such good moves and be so fast?" etc. etc. etc.
I wish I could be at the game to witness the beginning of the career of maybe the best quarterback to play the game ever!!
Sorry about your luck in the game though, you will not beat him...
Practice field descriptions of redshirt freshmen who with zero collegiate snaps at a school four years removed from its last winning season are brought to you by EA Sports, testing out absurd (and absurdly generic) hyperbole to pepper into its dumbed-down version of NCAA Football 09. I can't think of any other breathing individual who might actually utter any of those phrases - "This kid will surely contend and win the heisman soon"? - whether or not they were deluded enough by a recruiting ranking and a few plays against Washington's defense in a scrimmage, probably while wearing some variety of no-contact jersey.
Just a PSA for anyone going gaga over, I dunno, T.J. Yates or something: this is probably not the kind of thing you want to post about your freshman quarterback on an opponent's message board before his first road game.
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Suspicious, the behavior of West Virginia backups J.T. Thomas III and Ellis Lancaster, according to witnesses at a house party where the teammates are accused of stealing a laptop and a 32-inch television:
The report said one of the residents, Kyle Ackerman, noticed three males "acting suspicious" by the bathroom. A second resident, Zach Pellarin, supported Ackerman's observation.
One suspect wore a red hat and "appeared to be acting as a lookout for the other two individuals." Pellarin said another suspect, who had "cornrow braids," appeared to have something under his shirt as he left the party.
Pellarin told Runyan he saw the suspects get into and leave in a dark blue car driven by the suspect wearing the red hat.
Mssrs. Ackerman and Pellarin, aside from being fearless snitches, are the most alert collegiate partygoers I've ever encountered (or would be, if I encountered them at a collegiate party, in which case my attention is not likely to be on those dudes). Every significant party I vaguely recall from college includes at least one person on fire and ends with the cops busting up an a capella rendition of The Proclaimers' "Let's Get Married" on the back porch, but if anyone just came and stood around for a while and then walked out in possession of valuable assets, hell if I would have noticed. Well, unless those assets were, let's say, of the variety Thomas and Lancaster and friend do not happen to possess.
The two are scheduled to appear Sept. 10 in Monongalia County court.
Suspended, Kansas State tight end Rashaad Norwood, who was arrested early Sunday not once bit twice for domestic battery, criminal damage to property, criminal trespassing and obstruction of the legal process:
A few hours later, police were called again to the apartment, where they found Norwood hiding under a bed. He was charged with criminal trespassing because he had been warned after the first arrest to stay away from the woman.
Anything worth trying is worth trying again after you've been released on bond.
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Anyway, this large, presumably love-blinded individual threw a chair through a glass door and pushed a woman down on her bed and was released in time to commit the same felony again in the same night? That is a special kind of obsession. That's the kind of single-minded determination the Wildcats need to jumpstart their meteoric rise back into the Big 12 elite, just as soon as the legal process has run its course.
Dropped, four of the six remaining charges against Penn State safety Anthony Scirrotto, after a Centre County judge ruled Monday that "no evidence shows Scirrotto instigated an April 1 melee at a State College apartment."
Thus continues the slow unraveling of the sensational break-in/dust-up/fallout of the offseason, though Scirrotto does still face third-degree criminal trespass, a felony, and the summary harrassment applied to all six of the players initially charged. As it stands, only defensive tackle Chris Baker is still facing major burglary and criminal trespass charges, as well as a couple misdemeanors for throwing people around and maybe pouring beer into a laptop. Allegedly pouring beer into a laptop; the way this case is going for the prosecution, it will be lucky to cite him with jaywalking before Christmas.