The Long Snapper (3/9/10)

Starting the week off right with another Marvin Kloss story.  Quick recap for those of you that didn’t read my many mentions of the kid or never cared in the first place.  According to some kicking school you’ve never heard of, Kloss was one of the best kicker prospects in the nation.  According to the big-budget recruiting sites, Kloss didn’t exist.  He was offered a scholarship from USF, but turned it down for a chance to go to Florida.  After realizing there was a good chance he wouldn’t qualify, he decided to return to the green and gold and attempt to walk on.  So why am I mentioning him yet again?  Because Kloss was recently arrested on charges of grand theft.  The story is one of those “good job idiot, way to think about your future” ones we all love so much.  Kloss and a high school teammate are accused of stealing over $8,000 worth of items from a home during a party.  A party thrown by not the owner of the house, but by someone who was watching the house while the owner was out of town.  Think Kloss still has preferred walk on status at USF?  I’m going to go with “probably not.”  Skip Holtz has already shown what he tolerates and doesn’t.  If Kloss ever wears a Bulls’ uniform, I’d be very surprised.  But let’s at least hope he doesn’t something to warrant another Long Snapper inclusion in the near future.
Joel Miller has decided not to go forth with a lawsuit against former USF coach Jim Leavitt.  He said everything you would hope someone would say but never does.  That he doesn’t want to make any money off of the incident despite what people think.  Miller felt he had to tell the truth, but claims he didn’t do so to make money and therefore won’t sue his former head coach.  An honorable move I guess, but I’m more excited about the fact that this is just one more step to us not having to hear anymore about what did or didn’t happen in the locker room that day.  More could happen, but for most USF fans, the door is closed.  Leavitt is gone and isn’t coming back, ever.  Everyone seems to have embraced Holtz and can’t wait for his first game on the sidelines.  Think of this as just another hiccup in the ongoing story of Bulls’ football.  A year or two from now, we’ll barely be talking about it.
Matt Patchan is balls.  Anyone that has a story that starts with “so this is how I got shot” earns mention as being tougher than I am in even my best dreams.  Added to his steel is the versatility that makes Patchan desirable at whatever position he comes back at.  From defensive line as a freshman, to offensive line briefly as a sophomore, to the mention of maybe tight end (I’ll believe it when I see it) in 2010.  Right now, Patchan is doing his best to come back from a nasty ACL that cost him a real chance to earn a starting spot along the offensive line during the 2009 season.  He’ll be extremely limited during spring practices, but watch out for him come fall.  He sweats more talent than you’ll have in a lifetime and will star as whatever position he ends up at.
Joe Paterno now has his own award.  Or to be exact, he has an award named in his honor.  The winningest coach in Division 1-A/FBS history will have his name on an award given out by the Maxwell Club.  The Maxwell Club also gives out the, you guessed it, Maxwell Award.  The award givers haven’t decided exactly what the criteria for the Paterno is just yet, but it’ll be something along the lines of the affect a coach has on his team and community.  Basically exactly what embodies the man himself.  I’m still waiting for the Ron Zook Memorial Trophy, but apparently Zook is still alive and well and actually coaching football.
I’m not sure how I feel about the advancement of 3D over the last year or so when it comes to movies.  Some of the ones I’ve seen have looked great, but I have to be honest, in the end, I just end up with a headache.  Due to that, I’m not as excited about true 3D technology coming to our homes and, more importantly, sports in the not-so-distant future.  I love HD.  Who doesn’t?  I don’t feel the same way about 3D.  I’m probably in the minority with that sentiment, but oh well.  Despite the technology offered, I have to wonder if it will really catch on.  Will people really enjoy it as much as everyone seems to think?  Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.  Regardless, I’m reminded of some of the more recent technological failures.
1. Blu-ray won the war and I’m glad I didn’t end up buying this.
2. Sales, no.  Failure, yes.
3. Sony has a lot of hits.  They also have some misses.
4. I actually really enjoyed my Sega Saturn.
The Sixth Man: NCAA Tournament bid or not, USF just finished what has to be considered a great regular season.  At least by Bulls’ standards.  If you had asked me before the season who would’ve had a higher conference win percentage, the football team or the basketball team, I never in a million years would’ve guessed it the way it ended up.  Now USF heads to the Big East Tournament as the nine-seed.  As the highest seed in the first round, the Bulls will face the conference’s last place team in DePaul.  It’ll be the second time in eight days the two teams have squared off.  USF won the previous matchup 63-59.  Get by DePaul and the Bulls will face another team they beat the last time they faced them in Georgetown.  Look at it that way and it seems like the Big Dance is a real possibility.  USF needs some help, but two wins in the tournament of a conference that has five ranked teams at the moment (two of which the Bulls beat during the regular season) and they could get in.  It’s not out of the question.

The Long Snapper (2/23/10)

The Jim Leavitt saga is not going to end.  At least not anytime soon.  Leavitt wants his good name restored money and his attorneys are stopping at nothing to get it.  Attorneys for both sides met this weekend but have not come to a resolution.  USF’s stance is that it fired Leavitt with cause and therefore owes him just one month’s pay.  His attorneys say it was without cause due to their belief the investigation into the incident which occurred with player Joel Miller was conducted unfairly.  They are seeking he be paid a figure closer to the 75% of his full contract value as stipulated by said contract if he were dismissed without cause.  The two figures are vastly different – roughly $67,000 compared to $7.5 million.  Obviously a difference Leavitt wants to fight for.  Whether the investigation was conducted fairly or not, I have to think the fight is casting a larger black eye on Leavitt than on USF.  There are those that may still believe he was dismissed unjustly and those that believe he built the program and although should have been let go should be given his due, but the majority seems to have moved on to Skip Holtz and now regards Leavitt as yesterday’s news.  The possibility of a settlement seems to increase weekly and is probably how all of this will end up.  At this point, it may be in the best interest of both parties to come to an agreement and just move on.  Nothing good can come out of an ongoing fight.
Skip Holtz has finalized his coaching staff at USF with the hiring of new offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler.  The coaching staff breaks down with four coaches coming over from Holtz’s last stomping ground, ECU, and four being retained from the previous Bulls’ staff.  Five if you count Carl Franks who will not be a coach per say, but will be given an administrative role to remain with the program.  With the 2010 recruiting class signed and the coaching staff now in place, Holtz and crew move on to preparing for the upcoming season.  With talent returning at several key offensive positions, USF will be expected to again compete in the Big East.  A conference title is probably out of the question in Holtz’s first year, but don’t be surprised if the Bulls pull off a signature win here or there.  While USF never experienced the highest level of Big East success, a new coach isn’t in place because the last one failed.  It’s not a rebuilding situation, but more of a tweaking.  USF was a consistent bowl team who will now be expected to take the next step under Holtz.  He has many of the tools necessary to succeed in place and will look to build the others.  The biggest of course will be playing hard through an entire season.  You can bet on the second half collapses of the past to be something the new staff keys on and looks to eliminate.
Bad economy be damned, people will still spend $9,000 on eyeglasses if they please.  At least that’s what two Penn State alums are willing to give up in order to own the famous glasses of legendary head coach Joe Paterno.  Paterno recently had surgery to improve his vision and no longer needs the glasses that defined part of his historic look.  He’ll still need spectacles to read, but probably won’t be seen in anything similar to what he wore for years.  So his old ones immediately became a desired piece of sports memorabilia.  Very desirable at that.  I’m not sure how much I’d pay for a Steve Spurrier visor or an Urban Meyer windbreaker.  I guess if I had the money at my disposal and it was going to a good enough cause, it would be something to consider, but I’d imagine my limit would be far below $9,000.  Of course, having Joe Paterno’s glasses on a shelf is definitely a conversation starter.  Let’s just hope there are no drunken Halloween parties in the purchaser’s future.  That’s an expensive accessory to lose or break during an alcohol-induced haze.
The subject of Oregon receiver Jamere Holland’s Facebook tirade – Duck’s linebacker Kristian Kiko Alonso – has been suspended for the entirety of the 2010 season.  Not quite the dismissal Holland believed had occurred, but a fairly large punishment nonetheless.  In response to being arrested for DUI, Alonso will remain part of the Oregon program in some capacity, but will not play during the upcoming season.  I’d imagine Holland would still be with the team too if he hadn’t prematurely jumped to conclusions concerning Alonso’s fate.  The Ducks continue to take hits in the player conduct department.  I’m not about to start throwing stones, but it can’t be a fun time to be an Oregon fan.  That said, for every fan that cringes when an arrest is announced, there is a fan who could care less what happens off the field.
After putting a record 48.8 million people in seats for games during the 2008 season, college football attendance numbers dipped slightly in 2009 to 48.3 million.  Not a very significant decrease, but a decrease all the same.  You can link it to the economy all you want and you’d probably be right for the most part, but I have to think it could also have something to do with increased options for viewing games.  I enjoy going to games from time to time, but also enjoy having friends over to watch multiple games just as much.  There is little that can match the feeling of being in a stadium for a big game (I was at both the 1997 Florida/FSU game and the 2006 Florida/South Carolina game), but I’m also not someone who goes to every home game.  Maybe it’s that I enjoy the sport as a whole.  There’s no way I’d miss catching a Gator or Bull game, but at the same time, I don’t want to miss other big matchups either.  On a big weekend, I’d be just as comfortable with three televisions running the entire day with all the great games going.

Morning Reading: Urban Meyer, Gainesville Guy

There are only a few of these Fridays left. The ones not followed by a Saturday filled with college football. It is nice knowing you can wake up tomorrow and relax. But it’s so much better looking ahead four weeks and knowing the chaos that is a college football Saturday is what you live for. For those of you keeping track, we are four weeks away from Tulsa at Tulane. Sorry, but it’s the only game on that night. On a brighter note, we’re also only four weeks away from the return of What to Watch.

We’re in an era where longevity doesn’t exist. 10 years at a program these days is a lifetime. Look at some of the top programs from the 2008 season. The following teams finished (in order) in the top 10 of the AP Poll: Florida, Utah, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, TCU, Penn State, Ohio State, Oregon. Now look at the number of years their coaches had been at those programs as of last season: 4, 4, 8, 11, 10, 2, 8, 43, 8, 14. The average tenure doesn’t seem too bad at 11.2 years, but what if you take Joe Paterno out of the equation? It drops to 7.7 years. And the second longest tenure on that list – Mike Belloti at 14 years – just stepped down to become the school’s athletic director. You have half of the top six programs coached by guys who haven’t even been there for five years. And this won’t change. There’s always a bigger opportunity (i.e. more money) around the corner.

But is Urban Meyer one of the one’s who will take it? After getting a raise recently and saying he will not leave for Notre Dame (ever), it seems like Meyer is a Gator for the long haul. This article from GatorSports.com seems to solidify that point. Meyer loves the city and the community. He feels like it’s home and feels like he has the best job in the country. It took him a while, but Urban has embraced the area and doesn’t want to leave. Only time will tell if he does. (H/T: KP)

The Long Snapper: John Brown, Carl Johnson, Bobby Bowden, Alabama, and Orson Charles

The saga of John Brown has apparently come to an end. The defensive tackle – a member of the Lakeland class of 2007 – will transfer from Florida without ever seeing the field (well, I’m sure he saw it, he just didn’t step foot on it with the intent to play). Brown had plenty of promise, but a poor academic history. When all seemed in order, he broke his wrist and couldn’t contribute during the 2008 season. No word on where Brown may end up. (H/T: KP)

Charges have been dropped against Florida offensive lineman Carl Johnson. Johnson was originally charged with violating a restraining order against an ex-girlfriend, but it has been ruled he didn’t do so willfully – meaning he got on the bus and she just happened to be on it already. The ex-girlfriend has also decided not to pursue charges against Johnson based on her allegations of date rape. Hmmm. (And another H/T to KP.)

FSU’s troubles could lead to football victories being taken away. That always seemed weird to me considering the games were already played. In reality, who cares if something that already happened is deemed to not have actually happened? Why not do something like ban the Seminoles for a bowl game or two in the future? That would actually be a punishment. But anyway, Bobby Bowden – who currently sits second on the all-time win list – could find himself further than the one victory he is behind Penn State legend Joe Paterno. And thus, I have more questions. What about the games Bowden won as the head coach at Howard? Why do those count? And if they do and we’re talking all-time wins and not just Division 1-A wins, then aren’t they both still chasing John Gagliardi? Whatever the case, with the careers of both men winding down, it appears Paterno will go out on top.

Alabama is in some trouble over textbooks. What’s wrong with that sentence? That’s right. Two words that should never go together: Alabama and textbooks. ZING!

Orson Charles has finally chosen his collegiate destination and it’s Georgia. I never like seeing quality athletes leave the state, but it hits close to home when those players are…well…close to my home. Charles follows one-time TBG man-crush Aaron Murray to Athens. Although not happy where Charles ended up, any place is better than Tennessee.