The Real World: Carlsbad

January 11, 2010

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down..

To answer your question, no this does not feel weird at all. Why would it? So what if I’m a couple days late? Packing up all my possessions in the middle of January is perfectly normal. At least that’s how it’s gone the last four years of my life anyway. Ok sure, spring semester at Miami starts today and I’m still in St. Louis. The first two days of class are just intro syllabus days though so it’s really no big deal. I’ll be there by the time all the important stuff starts.

I will admit one thing does feel a little bit different this year. Boy do I have a lot of stuff. What’s it all doing here? Why didn’t I just leave it at school? Did I really need to take back everything just for a few weeks at home? Jeeze, and I thought my sister was high maintenance.

In all honesty, the only thing making me feel weird right now is you and all your peculiar questions. This is all perfectly normal. Nothing weird about it. I’m just packing up for Miami like I do after every Christmas break. I’ll save the weird feeling for gradu…

Ooooooohhhh. Right. I did that whole graduation thing already. Well this is awkward. And yes, now I do feel weird, thank you. Um, anyway, if I’m not going back to Ohio, do you mind telling me why I started all this packing in the first place. You know, besides just going through my normal routine.

WHAT!?! NEW MEXICO!?! WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO NEW MEXICO FOR!?!

Ok, wait, calm down. No not you, ME! Me calm down. I can totally deal with this. Sure New Mexico is like a whole day’s drive from… what? you’re joking, right? It’s 18 hours in the car from here? Great. I’ve always wanted to take a two-day drive to see sand with no ocean. Sounds like a blast.

Sure, sure, sure, whatever you say. I mean, I guess those caves do sound kinda cool at least. But do I really need all this stuff just for one trip? Oh wait, I know. Now you’re gonna tell me this isn’t a vacation but I’m actually going to live there. Mmhmm. Yup. Because that makes perfect sense. Well if you’re so smart, why don’t you tell me where exactly I’m living then, huh? Are we talking a condo here? Maybe an apartment? A house? No seriously, tell me. I actually would really like to know. Don’t do this whole surprise thing, man, we’ve already done enough of that already. C’MON MAN, just freaking tell me!

::Five or so minutes of tickle torture in attempt to elicit an answer::

So let me get this straight. You’re telling me that in two days I’m going to get in my car, drive 18 hours across the country to some random po-dunk town in New Mexico for an unknown period of time and I don’t even have a place to live yet? Well doesn’t that just sound like a plan for the ages. My parents will be thrilled when they hear this one. Can’t wait for that conversation. Hey mom, guess what. I’m going to live in the desert for a while. Be back… um… don’t worry, I’ll write. Don’t bother sending anything back though because I don’t exactly have an address. I’m bring a sleeping bag so that whole shelter thing is totally covered. Love ya!

Ooohh, I’m gonna rent an apartment once I get there. Yeah duh, that makes total sense. Why didn’t I think of that in the first place? You know, because that will be easy. No problem for a broke college grad like me. I’m sure I can just find several hundred dollars lying around in the street every month to pay the landlord. They do have streets in New Mexico, right?

A job? Writing for the newspaper? Do those even exist anymore? Of course jobs still exist, I meant newspapers you dummy. Well that’s cool. I’m sure there are tons of things to write about in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Maybe I could do some investigative journalism. “The search for the lost land of Old Mexico” by Dan Kukla. Papers will fly off the newsstands with that one.

WHAT!?! I’M THE SPORTS EDITOR!?! THAT’S TOTALLY AWESOME!!! What am I waiting around here for, I gotta go! Who cares about all that other crap; I get to watch sports and write about it… and someone is gonna pay me to do it! Can you say career jack pot? Sixty-degree weather, here I come!

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A Swift Taylor-ing of my blog

December 22, 2009

In no way am I saying Taylor Swift is God. Let’s get that one clear from the start. That being said, I had an epiphany of sorts today while singing along to one of her songs in the car (to answer your question, yes, I do this often. To answer your other question, yes, I am comfortable sharing this fact on the world wide web).

“You Belong With Me” is clearly written from the love-struck perspective of a teenage (she’s actually 20 now) girl about some cute guy with mixed-up priorities when it comes to women. It actually works much better, however , as a song from God to you.

Ok, sure, this thought isn’t all that revolutionary considering the title of the song. But take a look at the verses (as if you don’t already have them all memorized) and you may be surprised at just how on to something I am here.

“She doesn’t get your humor like I do… She’ll never know your story like I do.” Well duh. That’s because “I” am God. You know, the same God that, um, made you. The same God that not only knows your story but wrote it Himself. Just sayin.

“She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts. She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.” Yup, not only is this actually a song about God, but it’s a Christmas song too. Jesus didn’t come to earth as a prince but a pauper. His human dad was a carpenter not a king. Heck, he was born in a freaking manger – as in the thing farm animals eat out of and probably drool in to. Yeah, I’ll go out on a limb and say mondern day Jesus probably doesn’t shop at J Crew. Just sayin.

“You say you’re fine I know you better than that. Whatchya doin with a girl like that?” Here’s the real kicker. In addition to being a song about the real God, it’s also a song about all our fake ones too. Ok, so maybe you don’t pull out a mini golden Buddha during morning prayer, but if you’re anything like me then you still struggle with worshiping idols. Sports teams/players, relationships (perhaps your “significant” other), money, a career, image, pleasure, comfort… yourself. These things aren’t bad. Yup, God made them too. When we pour our lives into them, however, that’s when we crack. These broken cisterns don’t hold water as well as we’d like and we just end up empty and/or exhausted. Whatchya doin with a girl like that?

God wants to be in a love relationship with you. That’s what you were made for. Can’t you see He’s the one that understands you? So why look to someone or something else for life? God has been here all along so why can’t you seeeeee… he’s been dreaming of the day when you wake up and find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole time.

You belong with ‘Me’.


Miami records record-setting loss

November 19, 2009

The Bull's quite literally ran away with the game Wednesday. In a figurative sense, so did Miami's season. The 11th loss set a school record for most in one year.

Mike Haywood has a long Christmas list this year. After losing the season finale to the University at Buffalo 42-17, the first-year head coach knows his one-win RedHawks need a lot of work this offseason.

With 12 recruits already signed as of Wednesday night, Miami University holds seven more football scholarships to give. Haywood already knows exactly how he wants to fill those slots.

While assessing team needs, Haywood said he is looking for improved speed and strength. On the defensive line he wants a pass-rushing end and a run-stopping tackle. To address the need for speed, he wants to bring in a fast running back to compliment his many inside rushers, a tight end that can stretch the field vertically and athletic quarterback.

Haywood also plans to improve the conditioning of his current players.

“If you watch our wide receivers and running backs, when we go up and hit them, (the other team) is always falling forward,” Haywood said. “We have a lack of upper body strength as a team. We have to increase that upper body strength and we also have to get bigger and faster.”

Santa will be surprised when he sees how much Haywood is asking for this offseason. Let's hope the first-year head coach has been extra nice.

The list doesn’t end there. Haywood also said he plans to implement a fullback position into his offense in addition to improving the kicking and punting units and the redzone offense. The offensive line will see some serious work as well.

“Our offensive line would much rather pass protect than run block,” Haywood said. “During the offseason we’re going to change that mentality. They’re going to realize that we’re going to run the ball first.”

The RedHawks may look to run first next season but that was not the case against Buffalo. Miami quarterbacks attempted a season-high 57 passes Wednesday.

Senior receiver Brayden Coombs took full advantage by hauling in a school-record 14 passes for 100 yards in his last game as a RedHawk. With Miami’s receiving corps suffering relentless injuries all season long, Coombs, who switched to the WR position just two seasons ago, filled in nicely.

“Braydon was so far down in the depth chart when we first got here,” Haywood said. “He kept fighting and kept fighting and next thing you know he became the starter.”

The RedHawk rushing attack did little on the few plays Dysert and Raudabaugh didn’t drop back. Miami running backs carried the ball 12 times for a total of 53 yards.

Buffalo, on the other hand, dominated its ground game. Two UB ball carriers averaged more than 10 yards per rush as the Bulls racked up 240 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on the night. Once the running backs got going, quarterback Zach Maynard joined in on the fun as the Bulls often utilized play-action QB sneaks to confuse the RedHawk defense. His speed proved more than Miami could handle.

“We don’t have anybody on the field that can catch him because he was that athletic and that fast,” Haywood said.

While Buffalo controlled the scoreboard, it did not dominate all of the statistics. Miami finished with more first downs and time of possession than its opponent for the eighth time this season. The Achilles heel was an anemic redzone offense. Four times Miami drove inside the Buffalo 20-yard line without producing a score. On three of those trips the ’Hawks failed to register any points at all.

“People that are kicking field goals in the redzone end up losing football games,” Haywood said.

The loss brings Haywood’s first season as a head coach to a frustrating close. While his version of the team finished with less wins than last year’s, however, both he and his players believe that the foundation for future success has been laid. Haywood spent much of his time addressing issues off the field. With many of those problems eradicated he now feels the team is in a position to move forward.

“We had a lot of adversity early – primarily the way guys were living their lives off the field,” Haywood said. “We’ve cleaned up that aspect of our program and we’re now headed in the right direction. I can spend more time coaching on the field instead of handling the problems within a first-year organization.”

Haywood knows that the only secret to success is earning it through hard work, and that is one thing he can promise will never be lacking on this team. The players experienced plenty of growing pains this season as they adjusted to a completely new system. While they admit it was hard, they also admit it was necessary.

“When Haywood came here, I don’t think a lot of people realized the challenge he stepped in to,” senior captain Dustin Woods said. “We needed a change and knowing that Haywood could make a difference – that was all that mattered for the program.”


E(nemy)-Mail: Bull Run

November 18, 2009

Wow, his logo is waaaay cooler than mine.

Slowly but surely the community of MAC bloggers is accepting this site as legitimate. Either that or the complete lack of competition (yay for monopolies) has led to various followers of Miami opponents contacting me for content on their own blogs. The latest to do this was Tim Riordan, author of University at Buffalo blog Bull Run. That’s when I thought to myself, “hey, if we’re gonna play along with this whole being legitimate thing, why don’t we act like it.” So in addition to answering all of Tim’s questions I sent him a few of my own. I know, right… be impressed.

How did Buffalo drop from MAC Champions to 1-5 in conference play? What has been the big difference between last season and now?

I’d love to blame it on injuries (particularly to our Offensive line and our Half Backs) but the only difference between this years team and last years Bulls was how the team respond to pressure. Last season time and time again UB fought back and won out close games (Temple, BGSU, Akron) this year they have fallen apart just about every time the game is close towards the end. UB Lost several games with seconds left. Maynard, as the quarterback, owns some of this but it really seems to be that all UB players perform their worst when the game in on the line.

Aside from falling apart in the second half this is a team that has had bad special teams throughout the year. UB has no credible shot at a Field Goal outside of about 37 yards, punting has been erratic and our return game has been awful. UB has no dedicated coach for special teams, it may be time for them to bring one in.

Losing James Starks at the beginning of the season was killer for the Bulls. Miami knows all too well how dynamic of a runner he is. What kind of impact has his absence had on the Buffalo offense?

UB is missing the leadership that starks would have provided but once we got pounded by Temple they decided to try backs other than Thermilus and Henry. Since then UB has become one of the better rushing teams in the MAC, in no small part due to Ike Nduka (when he is healthy) and Jeffvon Gill, who started the season as backs number four and five respectively.

If Ike Nduka is healthy about the only drop off UB will have at the half back position is in terms of screens. Starks was deadly on screens and the offense has greatly missed that this season.

Much was made of Auburn’s non-hire of Turner Gill. What has he brought to Buffalo after returning this season when he could have easily been coaching somewhere else? Did he miss his chance at a high profile job or do you see him getting another shot down the road?

I think when gill took himself out of the running for Iowa state he made a bigger statement than when Auburn turned him down. The statement is that he will be in Buffalo until the right job comes along. So far I think some better recruits are willing to take the chance he will stay in Buffalo for several years UB is sitting on three three star recruits including a couple who had offers from BCS schools I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time that has happened so early on in the year.

So long as Gill does not pull a J.D. Brookhart and disappear after one great season he will eventually get an offer somewhere else that he considers worth leaving for. No team in the MAC, save Temple, really pays their coaches enough money to expect a talented coach to stay on for very long. The MAC pay scale, and the chance to coach in a big time conference, will eventually be enough to pull Gill away from Buffalo.

The Bulls lost their last three games but the results don’t tell the whole story. Buffalo only lost by a combined seven points in those most recent contests. What has stopped this team from winning close games?

I’m working on a book about this very phenomena “how to lose game and torment fans”. UB has found so many ways to lose this year that I might need to publish it in volumes. Two blocked punts (deep) against Bowling Green, Having the Ball bounce right off of Marcus Rivers chest and into Shannon Ballard’s against Ohio, falling flat against WMU in overtime, disappearing in the second half against UCF, …, …

Most of this is owed to coaching problems, I am still a big believer in Turner Gill but there are two things he has to fix for next season. Firstly UB plays way too conservative of a game once they get the lead. Against Bowling Green the Bulls had the ball with three timeouts and about two minutes left in the first half, the proceeded to run the clock out. Why they did not for for the throat was a subject of much consternation on ubfan.com. The other problem with coaching relates to the special teams, our special teams are split between two coaches. Clearly the arrangement is not working as not one aspect of our special teams play has been passable this season.

Prediction: What do you expect to see Wednesday? What are the key match ups and who will win them to tip the scales?

It depends on which Zach Dysert shows up, UB has gotten better applying pressure to the QB as the season has went on and Dysert is either great or terrible under pressure depending on the phases of the moon and what house Saturn is in (like most first year starters). If Dysert keeps his calm he is a very frighting QB to face but if the Bulls get inside his head, even a little, I don’t see Miami moving the Ball on Buffalo.
————————————————————————————————
And just in case you were curious, here are my answers to his questions.

With the season winding down how much improvement have you seen under Mike Haywood? Aside from a different football philosophy what else has he brought to the RedHawk and did Brad Bates made the right call?

I am fully convinced that Haywood is the right man for this job. Aside from the obvious changes in team culture and coaching philosophy, a significant contribution has been player development. Haywood pretty much decided to start from scratch, which means many of the starting positions are filled by freshmen and sophomores. While this committed the RedHawks to a very literal re-building season, the team should see huge dividends from this investment in seasons to come as these players already have a full season of development and familiarity with Haywood’s system. Haywood has also shown flexibility as coach. He preaches a hard-nosed, smash-mouth style that is all about running the ball and stopping the run; mid-way through the season when this clearly was not working he was willing to change the offense to a pass first attack rather than just entrench in his own principles. Miami won its first game after the switch and almost knocked off Temple as well.

Zack Dysert has been, aside form the Bowling Green game, looking like a very promising quarterback. How in the world did Haywood start the season with Raudabaugh and how is Dysert doing this spending as much time on his back as he is?

Dysert has been a tasty treat as of late but it didn’t start out that way. During his first few appearances in game action he looked like a deer in the headlights. Haywood started with Raudabaugh because he wanted to ease Dysert into the starting role rather than just throw him in there against the likes of Boise and UK. As for all the sacks, those will come with all the big plays. Dysert seems extremely reluctant to just throw the ball away. Often this ends up in him making a huge play with his legs or finding an open receiver late, but it also ends in plenty of lost yards as well. He is an incredible athlete but still has a lot of adjusting to this level of play to do in addition to some maturing as both a quarterback and a leader.

I’m a big believer in playing the best schedule you can (FCS games are for chumps) even if it means you lose some games big. Given that the hawks are in a rebuilding phase how do you perceive Miami’s future scheduling priorities versus what you would have them be?

I too believe in challenging yourself with the non-conference games but I also think there is a difference between playing up and playing completely out of your league. Games against Northwestern are great because it exposes you to a better team but still gives you a chance to compete. Games against Boise don’t allow you to improve as much, however, because the talent gap is too wide. As of right now, Miami is scheduled to play Florida, Missouri and Cincinnati all on the road next season. Playing better teams holds some benefits but at some point this team needs to learn how to win.

Your defense seems to always play just poorly enough to lose games. While your offense is improving as time goes on the defense, even with guys like Gafford, continue to be mired in mistakes as the season goes on. Where are the real defensive problems for Miami?

The RedHawk defense cannot stop the run. This has been a chronic problem all season. A perfect example of this is the Temple game. When a team is losing with less than two minutes remaining it is pretty standard for them to implement a pass only offense in order to move the ball quickly and conserve time. But the Owls chose to run the ball because they had seen all game how porous the MU run defense is. Sure enough, Temple ripped off two double digit gains and ended up kicking a game-winning field goal. The biggest play Miami has trouble with is the zone sweep. Ohio was extremely successful with this and it seems most Miami opponents took notes and are doing the same.

Prediction: Will Miami finish their season with a win? If they win who is the hero, if the lose who is the goat?

Win or lose, Dysert will hold most of the responsibility. I know its easy to point to the quarterback as a default hero or goat but he really has dictated the overall performance of the RedHawks most of the season. If he can keep the turnovers to a minimum and make a few big plays, Miami should be able to beat the Bulls. But if Buffalo runs against the Miami D with the same success as other teams, it won’t take too many mistakes for the Hawks to lose.


IT ENDS TONIGHT

November 18, 2009

Win or lose, Miami’s season ends tonight. Said more bluntly, the misery that this season has been ends tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed Haywood’s arrival and Dysert’s breakout; but there is no getting around the fact that this season, as a whole, was aweful.

Somehow I don’t think I’m the only one with this opinion. Right now, 10 minutes before game time, there are exactly 18 fans in the stands across the field from me. Where are the other 15,000 students that go to this school? At home not caring about this game.

I like to raise the stakes before the game. It’s an old journalism trick to make readers actually read your story. You know, tell them why the game is important and not just a game. Well tonight we have two teams with a combined two wins in the MAC. It’s raining. Not even 20 students are here. Yup, that’s about all the context I can give you. I guess it would be nice to finish with two wins instead of one but in the end this game really just doesn’t matter.

So now that you are all fired up for some football, I give you…

DK Kountry Key Matchups:

Buffalo Players vs The 12th man: While typically the 12th man refers to the thousands of fans screaming from the bleachers, tonight this term is much more literal. I’m telling you right now, that 12th man I counted, he’s the difference maker. I can hear the announcers now… “and the fan (as in singular fan) goes wild!” Hey, considering only 18 students showed up, I’d say I have pretty good odds.

The way I see it, everything else seems to be pretty even and thus does not warrent comment.

Prediction: The winner of this game will be the team that doesn’t care the least. I’m going with Haywood on this one. Miami 27, Buffalo 24.

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6:09

If not for the free dinner I doubt I woulda shown up tonight. City BBQ… mmmmm

6:12

Miami started with the ball and has already picked up two 3rd and forevers. They are now inside the Buffalo 40. Miami better start doing better on 1st and 2nd down or it could be a long night. Working so far tho.

6:13

Another 3rd and forever…

6:14

Almost picked off. Yeah that didn’t last long.

6:23

Miami did stop Buffalo in three downs, but the run defense almost blew it. Then Miami’s return team really almost blew it. We’re starting our second possession and we’ve already filled the quota for dodged bullets.

6:28

Dysert looks like he has total control of this offense. Very calm and collected. Very decisive with the ball. He has Miami on another drive into Buffalo territory.

6:30

Tons of running room for Dysert so far. Did they not get the game tape this week? How were they not prepared for this?

6:31

Picked in the endzone. Bullocks! Dysert really needs to cut that out.

6:33

So I brought my RA along for the ride tonight. His name is Matt Hey, which means whenever role call is being taken he gets addressed as “Hey, Matt.” How great is that? He has a huge paper due tomorrow but couldn’t pass up the free City BBQ either.

6:38

If you are a cheerleader and there aren’t any fans, are you really a cheerleader? Doesn’t that make you more of a plain old cheer-er?

6:40

DAN RAUDABAUGH!? He still plays for Miami? What? I guess coach is giving him a pitty series or two tonight since its his last (finally) game.

6:43

Hey, what’s this? Miami is actually driving with DR back in action. Maybe Buffalo is worse than I thought.

6:46

Sack and then DR runs out of bounds before the first down marker. That’s more like it.

Punt team comes on and earns automatic first down on roughing the kicker call. 1st and 10 from the Buffalo 34!

6:50

Dude, Miami is dodgin bullets like its the freaking Matrix. Rogers catches a slant route pass then fumbles the ball into open field. If the Buffalo player picks it up he probably scores. Instead, the ball trickles out of bounds. This is getting a little ridiculous.

Cook field goal is good… and the FAN goes wild! Miami 3, Buffalo 0.

6:54

So we’re sitting next to a few NFL scouts and Hey, Matt is getting bored with the game. For anyone who knows Hey, Matt, this is a dangerous combination. Naturally he has already drawn up his own free-agent profile to give to the scouts in attempt to get drafted in April. Here are a few excerpts…

  • Pros: I will never violate NFL policies; I am the next Wes Welker (the one you’ve been looking for)
  • Cons: I have never played football on a college, high school, middle school or elementary team.

6:59

Who needs James Starks when you are playing a run defense like Miami’s? Buffalo just ripped off a big run all the way down to the goal line then jogged it in on a sweep the next play… and silences the fan. Miami 3, Buffalo 7.

7:03

Wow that was pretty pathetic. Buffalo squib kicks to the 28. Miami’s special teamer caught it cleanly then just fell to the ground with no defenders within 10 yards of him. The odd part is I think he meant to do this. Dysert is back in btw.

7:08

I realize that “Broadway” is a common name used for a city’s busiest street. But since this is also the name of Miami’s punter, I feel like this route is being used a tad too often tonight.

7:11

If Happy Gilmore were announcing this game, he would probably say the Buffalo running backs are “riding the bull, feeling the flow.” U@B is back in Miami territory on all run plays.

7:13

31-yard rushing TD… the fan is disgusted. Miami 3, Buffalo 14.

7:21

Miami didn’t do much, if anything, with the ball. Now U@B has it on the RedHawk 30 with 35 seconds left. The fan will probably leave at half time.

7:24

Miami 3, U@B 21.

HALFTIME

Well, it started out ok. But then Buffalo just stopped throwing the ball and that typically works pretty well against this Miami team. Haywood MUST recruit some run stoppers or it won’t be much prettier next season. This has been a problem all year and actually I think it got progressively worse. Overall Dysert look descent. He’s running too much because of bad protection and a a young/inexperienced WR corps that doesn’t get open often enough or quick enough. Hopefully Miami will recover from the injury bug and stay healthy on offense next season. O-Line is definitely another recruiting priority.

All the scouts left with the fan which means Hey, Matt never got a chance to give his pitch. It’s a shame too because I hear KC could use a WR.

7:51

Oh my, I look up and not only has the second half started but U@B has already scored. Two huge runs and a trick play that ended with a TE standing at the 1-yard line looking up into the lights waiting for the rainbow pass to fall into his open arms. I’m serious. He was just standing there. No RedHawk within 15 yards. Miami 3, U@B 28.

8:05

Touchdown Miami. Sorry I kinda signed off there for a bit. I really don’t know what happened on that drive at all. Hey, Matt and I have been too busy looking up pickup lines on Mathew Berry’s fantasy football column. Yes, you read that correctly and no, there are no typos. I was looking for pickup lines in a fantasy football column. Now you no why my current facebook status is over four years old. Miami 10, U@B 28.

8:13

So I realize you all (yes, I am working under the assumption that people are actually reading this) are now dying to know what insight we gleaned from our search. Here’s our best stuff so far…

  • Say baby, can I have your picture? I want Santa to know exactly what I want for Christmas.
  • Was there a rainbow nearby, baby? Because you’re the treasure I’ve been searching for.
  • I’m not drunk, baby. I’m just intoxicated by you.

Don’t worry, although we considered testing these on the stat girl who comes by after after ever scoring drive, we decided this was not a good idea. Also, stay tuned because there are more to come.

8:15

After a rare defensive stop, Miami ripped off a nice punt return and tacked on 15 more yards from a late hit out of bounds. This thing ain’t over just yet.

8:17

ZD with a nice run through traffic to set up 1st and goal. Say Baby, is there an airport nearby? Or is that just my heart taking off?

8:20

Wow, terrible series leads to multiple sacks and a missed chip-shot field goal.

8:27

So Miami has the ball back. That’s weird because that requires stopping Buffalo on two consecutive possessions.

8:34

RedHawks are driving again. That missed field goal after 1st and goal was a killer. This game would be getting good right about now with a score back there. Wow, there’s a nice grab by Woods on a wet football thrown hard and was already past him. “Say Baby, are you a parking meter? Because you’ve got ‘fine’ written all over you.”

8:37

Check that. A Miami ball carrier just fumbled one yard short of his first career TD. That pretty much sums up the entire season. Expectation for great things followed up by huge mistakes from a young and developing team.

8:44

If Tom Petty was calling this game would probably be saying Buffalo is “running down a dream.” Oh wait, never mind. They just scored on a deep PASS play. And the beat goes on. Miami 10, U@B 35.

8:46

Stat girl (still don’t know her name or number) is now due for another visit. Here are my remaining options…

  • “Say baby, can I borrow a Band-Aid? Because I just scraped my knee falling for you.”
  • “Hey baby, do you have a map? Because I keep getting lost in your eyes.”
  • “Say baby, if you were fast food, you’d be a McGorgeous.”

8:51

DR is back in. Good call Haywood. I’m not gonna say he deserves it but its the right thing to do. Even so, I refuse to give him a pick up line.

8:52

36-yard touchdown PASS! Good for Dan. I will say I’m happy for him. Getting benched for a freshman has gotta be rough so this is a nice way to go out. Still no pick up line tho.

8:54

Just realized I forgot to post the score. Well I’m not going to because that is completely irrelevant at this point.

8:59

Another U@B rushing TD from outside the redzone. Yup. Miami is pretty good at defense. Not. The score is now even more irrelevant and un-postable.

9:05

DR still in the game… this drive started well but ends on 4th down after a terrible throw way over the WRs head. I won’t say it, but you are all thinking it…

9:06

Ok U@B is in victory formation. That’s all for me. G’night yall!


Coach Coles gives yet another classic interview

November 17, 2009

It’s not often that this blog posts the same content as Deadspin. While I admit to being the copycat the first time around, I must give myself a big pat on the back for beating the mega blog to the punch in round two.

Here is the audio of the full press conference… listen for my followup question where I say “Coach, you were playing Big Blue, you were playing John Wall… how’d you keep it so close?” Coles responds by saying “I like you! Oh yeah, he’s from Miami. Thank you. I see you were awake tonight.”

Here is a collection of comments I’ve seen on various postings of the video…

  • When UK has a coaching change again after Coach Cal, this is who I want as UK’s coach!!! LOL
  • love to see reporters get put in thier place, i’ll be watching for Charlie the rest of the season now!
  • Lol cool coach
  • This is one of the funny yet polite of a meltdown from a coach.
  • I didn’t know Bill Cosby coached basketball.
  • I would love to trespass on that grumpy old man’s property, just to hear a three minute folksy rant about getting off his lawn.
  • I think Charlie Coles just ran away with the Walter White “Guys You Think Might Be Black but Have to Check Wikipedia for Verification” Award
  • this is precisely why I love charlie. He doesn’t even coach the team anymore, one of the assistants takes care of that. We just keep him around for stuff like this

Courtside at Rupp Arena Live!

November 16, 2009

Yes, I am well aware that this is a football blog. Yes, I am well aware that the game I am watching is basketball. Do I look like I care? (haha trick question… you can’t see me).

Anyway, I wanted to end my sports journalism career at Miami in style and what better place to do so than the mecca of college basketball. This is the No. 4/5 ranked team in the country here. This is a storied program’s return to glory under a new head coach. Oh yeah, and some confused team from Ohio named Miami is playing too. Forget about the fact that I’m covering the RedHawks’ season finale on the gridiron against Bowling Green in two days. This is my real send off: courtside at Rupp Arena.

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7:02

I’m not the basketball beat writer so you’re not getting any pregame analysis. What am I supposed to say anyway. Miami, who lost to Towson, is playing the No. 4/5 team in the country. Yup, that’s all there really is to say about that. Michael Griggs, the sports photographer for the Miami Student and my wingman for the night, put it this way: “Kentucky is going to put their balls in Miami’s faces all night long.” For those of you who missed that, he means UK players will be dunking a lot.

7:05

Wooooooow! UK players just came onto the court. What an enterance. The Miami basketball experience does not compare to this in any way what so ever. I’m not even sure we play the same sport anymore.

7:16

I will do my best to sum up my observations of the UK basketball experience so far. When we arrived in Lexington, over an hour before the game, people were already flocking to the game. Did you read that… an hour before the game… people… flocking. I realize I am more or less speaking in a foreign language for all Miami bball fans right now.

Also, there is so much media here that press “row” circles around the entire court, making it more of a press square than a press row. The two tiers of sold-out stadium seating that go right up to the court give this a slightly different feel than Millett. But really I think its just that there are actually lights in here that stands out the most. Never mind all those screaming fans wearing home colors.

I’m not quite sure UK and its fans know they are playing Miami. Perhaps the saw the red and white and figured Louisville. Judging from all the electricity in the air, I bet there isn’t much of a difference.

When the UK players were introduced, they shot off fireworks. For the record, we are inside. Way cool. I am still slightly deaf and totally in awe.

7:20

For anyone who cares about the actual game, Miami is winning right now, 11-8. Just from listening to the crowd I kinda thought we were getting crushed. UK hit a couple of threes, which the fans were kind enough to notify me of with excessive roars. But then I looked up and sure enought… 11-8. Weird.

7:24

Just from looking around, you almost get the impression that the architect actually intended basketball to be played here. Somehow I don’t get that same sense at Millett. Oh, and its really loud in here. Can someone tell all those fans to keep it down.

7:27

Top recruit John Wall just took a tumble and required a on-court medical attention. That sure quieted the crowd. In case you were wondering, silence can be deafening. He’s ok by the way.

7:30

It’s now 17-16 Miami. They better stat bundling up down there in Hades. The UK press has frazzled Miami at times but mostly they are hanging in there pretty well. Honestly, though, UK does look much bigger, faster and just generally more athletic. I think they are trying too hard to put on a show right now. Once they start playing basketball for real this will be over quickly.

7:35

24-16 Miami. This team is not star struck in any way, shape or form. Miami just got a bench warning for being to enthusiastic. I’m not mad at all. This is great. Miami came to play. UK time out!

7:37

33-18. The crowd, who was unbelievably loud in the opening minutes, has been mostly at a murmur as of late. They are starting to get restless. UK is playing very sloppy and Miami just can’t miss a shot.

7:40

I know Miami is known for being home to ridiculously good looking girls, but we are sitting right behind the UK cheerleaders and… that’s all I am going to say.

7:42

I just peeked at the stat monitor. Miami is 9-12 from three-point range. WHAT!?

7:46

36-24. I guess you can call this a come back. The UK fans certainly seem to think so. They are loud again. Very loud. Miami is still up by 12 but you can sense trouble.

7:48

OH MY GOODNESS they are loud. They don’t do any actual cheers like you see on TV at Duke and UNC. Mostly they just yell. A lot. And all at the same time.

7:52

Some specific observations. Nick Winbush is on fire… as in 5-5 from 3-point land. Antonio Ballard is a freaking beast. He made a soaring rebound over two UK players from the far side of the paint. Gotta be one of the most athletic player in Miami uniform in a loooong time; definitely since I’ve been at the school; so yeah, a loooong time.

7:55

39-36 Miami at half. Now it is definitely a comeback. Thank God for the buzzer. Miami looks pretty frazzled right now. Not sure if it’s the crowd or what. The Hawks lost their touch and UK is starting to find theirs. Much needed break for Miami.

HALFTIME

After watching all the pregame commotion I really thought Miami would be overwhelmed. All the fireworks and intimidating music and the real basketball stadium and… and.. and… FANS! But the Hawks were not phased at all. Not even after the No. 4/5 team came out firing. Sure the astronomical shooting percentage helped, as did all the sloppy play from UK. But regardless of the score I was just encouraged to see this team come out and compete. It would been easy to get caught up in the hype and get starry-eyed just from looking around. That did not happen and it took UK, not Miami, a long time to figure out that there was a real basketball game being played and not just an exhibition.

Side note of non-interest: Miami has new uniforms and they look good. Still really basic as to be expected, but at least they don’t look like they belong to my high school basketball team any more.

8:12

Start of second half. Very curious to see what happens here.

8:14

Miami came out shooting ice-cold. This could be bad. At least they don’t look so out of control like the last stretch of the first half. The offense is running well they just aren’t hitting shots anymore.

8:15

43-38 Miami. Game on!

8:17

Four fouls on Miami already.

8:23

45-40 Miami. Looks pretty even this half so far. Five fouls on Miami. As long as we are winning I am going to type the score as much as possible because its so fun.

8:24

We just had the first real cheer from the UK crowd. The best part is that its a profanity so I can’t type it. Ok here we go, they just switched to the ever creative “ref you suck, ref you suck” cheer.

8:27

Mavunga is at four fouls. Miami is at six. 45-42 Miami. This is a much slower half scoring wise. Favors MU?

8:28

48-42 Miami. Just wanted to type it. That’s all.

8:31

50-44. Yup, Miami is still beating the No. 4/5 team in the country… on the road.

8:32

First UK dunk. Unfortunately his balls were in nobody’s face. Sorry Griggs.

8:35

50-48. The crowd is doing that really loud cheering thing again. Wow, this is such a great game.

8:37

The UK mascot is hilarious. He basically just goes around and messes with whoever is around. So funny.

8:42

52-50 Miami. Like I said, much slower on the scoring side of life this half. No more up and down the court. No more ridiculous threes. Just good ole fashioned half court Charlier Coles basketball.

8:45

Hoop, meet John Wall. John Wall, meet hoop… wow, that will definitely be on SportsCenter tonight. All tied up at 52.

8:48

UK leads for the first time in a looong time… and hits a three. It is freaking deafening in here. Hayes goes down and nails a three of his own and gets fouled. Makes the free throw. Now 57-56 UK after all that.

8:49

59-59. This feels much more like the first half now.

8:51

Incredibly sloppy sequence from both teams. Ends in no points and a very angry Coach Calipari calling a time out.

8:53

62-61 Hawks. Miami just refuses to go away.

8:55

65-63 Miami. This is getting good. Sorry for the short commentary. I kinda wanna watch the game. 2:58 left on the clock btw.

8:59

Antonio Ballard hits one of two free throws. 66-65 Miami.

9:01

OUCH! There’s the balls in the face Griggs was looking for. Power dunk if I do say so myself. That should be on SC too. 67-67 after another one of two from the line for Miami. Gotta make those free throws.

9:03

UK goes up two. Misses the and one. Time out Miami. 1:15 left. Insane game.

9:07

Poor possession from Miami. It was the ole hold the ball until the shot clock runs low then let Kenny do whatever he wants. Works sometimes against MAC teams. Almost never against a top 5 team. UK ball up two with 20 seconds left.

9:09

WOW Haddix nearly stole the inbound pass. Fouled him instead. UK up 70-67.

9:11

DAGGER! Kenny Hayes nails a three to tie the game after Wall misses the second free throw. BIGGER DAGGER! Wall hits the game winner with 0.5 seconds left at the other end.

WHAT A GAME! WELL PLAYED HAWKS! Heartbreaker for sure but WOW!