Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mike Jenkins and Fabian Washington still sidelined

Cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Fabian Washington have yet to appear in an NFL pre-season game.

Jenkins has been sidelined with a neck injury (stinger) and missed Dallas' game against Minnesota Saturday night. The Southeast High product has one more pre-season game to get tuned up before the Cowboys regular season opener.

Washington, who signed with New Orleans after coming from Baltimore, has been sidelined with an hamstring injury. The Bayshore High graduate has slipped to third on the Saints depth chart.

The one local product who did play in the Dallas-Minnesota game was Palmetto graduate Mistral Raymond, who was drafted in the sixth round out of USF. Playing safety, he had two solo tackles.

NCAA probation doesn't stop football programs

Being put on probation by the NCAA is akin to a slap on the wrist; a post season ban can hurt an FBS program (formerly I-A) for awhile, but won't stop a team from winning a national championship.

Since the first BCS title game in 1999, ten of the 36 teams that participated in the game were on probation at least five years prior to the game and one within six years. Six were on probation within three years of the game.

Five of the those BCS title game winners were on probation within five years of the game and two within at least three years. Click here for full story.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amarri Jackson and other ex Bulls, Bucs sign with Virginia

The Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League will have a lot of faces the Tampa Bay area is familiar with who played at University of South Florida and the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Receiver Amarri Jackson, coming off a record setting season with the Arena League Tampa Bay Storm, has signed with Virginia. The Sarasota Riverview High product had a solid career at USF that unfortunately ended in a senior season where he suffered an injury.

He will be joined in the receiving corps at Virginia with former Tampa Bucs Dexter Jackson and USF's Huey Whitaker. The roster also includes Clifton Smith, a former Pro Bowl returner with the Bucs.

In its first UFL season, Virginia's head coach and general manager is Marty Schottenheimer, the sixth winningest head coach in NFL history.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Schiller named new basketball coach at Lakewood Ranch

Jeremy Schiller, who was an assistant coach at Eckerd College the past four years, has been named the new head boys basketball coach at Lakewood Ranch. He will teach physical education.

The 30-year-old was also a graduate assistant at USF in ’04-‘05 and head coach at Seminole Osceola for one year. He replaces Chris Kawcak, who resigned after last season to pursue a business venture. Schiller was a point guard at Brandon High and coached the JV team there for two years going 53-4.

“My philosophy is to outwork everybody and maximize our potential,” Schiller said. “We are going to be tough on the ball and get up and down the floor fast. I don’t want other teams to feel comfortable when they play us. I think we can be a state contender.”

Ranch's Cobb tears ACL, but hopes to return before hoops season ends

Tough news for Brian Cobb and the Lakewood Ranch High boys basketball team.

Figured to be one of the top players in Southwest Florida heading into his senior year, the 6-6, 210 pound forward received a bad break this summer when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee.

Cobb had surgery two weeks ago and hopes to be back for the last five or six games of the regular season, thought there are no guarantees.

Cobb was a first team Bradenton Herald All-Area selection. He topped the Mustangs in numerous categories including scoring (15.6 ppg), rebounding (9.8 rpg), and blocked shots (3.5 bpg) and averaged 2.1 steals.

He is getting most of his interest from Lynn University and Jacksonville University. Cobb said the coaches at both those schools told him to get healthy and don't worry about anything else.

"I am going to visit Lynn as soon as I am able to get up and walk around again," Cobb said. "The doctors told me it would be about six to eight months till I can play again. I am hoping to be able to play before the regular season ends."

Back in the blogging saddle; Allen Sack said it best

Back into blogging after missing a week or so to concentrate on series regarding how the NCAA mistreats college athletes and then pre-season football tab.

On that series note, don't let what is happening at Miami fool you into thinking college football players are living a country club existence. They often work 18 hours a day on their job of playing football and going to class.

A lot take under the table handouts, but for many its to survive because as has been documented by the NCAA itself scholarships do not over full cost of attending college not to mention medical benefits;__ which most players have to pay for on their own unless they have a Pell Grant or can qualify for some financial assistance.

Allen Sack (above) said it best in comparing the current state of the NCAA with prohibition.

The problem is up top. With many football and basketball coaches making $1 million upwards the balance is out of whack.

That's more than most college presidents make and players are not naive like they might have been 20-30 years ago.

Things are only going to get worse unless the NCAA changes its ways or the FBS (formerly I-A) football programs bolt and form their own organization, which they already have in a way with the BCS.

The best line from the series from this perspective was Allen Sack's analogy that today's NCAA with its rules resembles what the government tried to do with prohibition.

Here is a look back at that classic statement, which ESPN basketball guru Jay Bilas tweeted as something he thoroughly enjoyed.

“This is like prohibition and outlawing alcohol merely led to an outbreak of the worst kind of crime in the nation’s history with Al Capone, Chicago and the mobs,” Sack said. “What we have here is a system out of control where most nice, regular, good people say it is corrupt and therefore athletes are violating rules because they don’t believe the people who run this thing are really honest."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hornes leaves USF football team

Faron Hornes winding journey to become a Division I football player has apparently ended with one season remaining.

The former multi-purpose standout at Southeast, who took the long route to USF going through junior college amid a family tragedy, has left the USF football team, according to various reports.

There was speculation it was for academics, but USF head coach Skip Holtz would not confirm it.

Hornes left the team’s training facility in Vero Beach just nine days after fall practice began. He joined the Bulls in 2009 under then head coach Jim Leavitt after winning a national championship at Butler Community College.

It was hoped Hornes could be the punt return man USF desperately needed in 2009, but things never worked out for the 5-7, 175 pounder and he eventually lost the job to Terrence Mitchell last season.

In 2010, Hornes had 164 total all-purpose yards. He caught 11 passes for 135 yards that included his only TD, a 70-yarder in a big win against Cincinnati. In ‘09, he was strictly a punt returner and had 16 returns for 80 yards.

In his senior year at Southeast 2006, Hornes was an all-everything standout, playing quarterback, running back and receiver while returning punts and kickoffs. He piled up 1,486 all-purpose yards and averaged 30.2 yards on punt returns and 23.2 on kickoff returns. He averaged 19.6 yards per catch with 30 receptions and 8.4 yards per rush with 40 attempts.

Hornes stayed out of school for a few years to help his mother, who was battling cancer that eventually took her life.

He was the hero in Butler’s 37-30 double overtime victory over Snow College in the 2008 national junior college championship game, catching six passes for 76 yards. He caught a 14 yard TD pass in the first overtime to send the game into a second OT where the Grizzlies won on a fumble recovery off a blocked field goal.

With Butler, he had 32 catches for 433 yards and three touchdowns. He came on strong the second half of the season, highlighted by a 41-yard TD catch in a victory over Hutchinson, which qualified the Grizzlies for the championship game.

Hornes is the third USF player to leave the team during fall pre-season. He follows running back Dontae Aycock, who has given up football and Venice High defensive end Brandon Wilkinson who left because he was looking for more playing time.

Raymond misses pro debut with hamstring injury

Turns out Mistral Raymond's decision to return an interception during practice last Thursday was a costly one for the Minnesota Vikings rookie.

The defensive back tweaked his hamstring after he attempted to return his pick off fellow rookie Christian Ponder and Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier decided to keep him out of Minnesota's pre-season opener Saturday night at Tennessee.

It would have been the professional debut for the Palmetto High/USF product, who was selected in the sixth round by the Vikings this year. He is currently battling for the starting spot at free safety.

Frazier said the team didn't want to take a chance and further aggravate his injury, according to Minneapolis Star. Raymond was one of seven Vikings held out of the game, the report said.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Raheem Morris: Bucs are "Youngry"

Is Raheem Morris becoming the master of the cliche or maybe just looking to replace Jay Leno or one of those other late night talk show hosts someday.

The Tampa Bucs head coach may have had the phrase of the year last season when he coined the phrase "Race To 10" referring to his desire to his young team turn around a three win season from a year ago and win 10 games.

People laughed and some in the media ridiculed him, but they got their 10. Now Morris is at it again and this time no one is laughing.

He called his Bucs team "Youngry" in an ESPN article which has to be the quote of the pre-season so far.

Real simple, the youngest coach in the league is coaching the youngest team and it's hungry, the coach says.

The average age of the starters on the depth chart the Bucs released this week is 25.9 years-old and of those 22 thirteen are 25 or under.

Winning 10 games, but failing to qualify for the playoffs has made his team hungry and they are still young.

So take it to the bank the Bucs are "Youngry"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Poole named Reebok First Team All State Pre-Season; Sandberg chosen for second team

Friday Night Football Florida is out on the newstands and as reported here weeks ago Southeast High defensive back Brian Poole and Manatee quarterback Cord Sandberg received high honors.

Poole was named to the first team of the Reebok Team Florida defense and Sandberg was named to the second team offense.

In regards to Poole, the magazine stated the 5-10, 195 pound defensive back has "combined speed, athletic ability and a knack for reading offenses to become one of the best at his position in the state."

The first team offense was comprised of all seniors and there were nine on the second team. The 6-2, 205 pound Sandberg was one of only two juniors named to the second team along with Lake City Columbia offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. Nick Patti from Orlando Dr. Phillips was the first team quarterback.

Southeast senior offensive lineman Kevin Williams (6-3, 295) was named to the third team offense. Venice High offensive lineman Omari Phillips was named to the first team.

The magazine's top 100 seniors in the state had Poole at number 7 and Williams at 85. It included Manatee High defensive back Clinton Heaven (#87) and Hurricanes linebacker Darius White (#91).

Love has some knee swelling, but says not a concern

USF receiver A.J. Love has experienced swelling on his surgically repaired knee that recently limited his workload.

The Southeast High product, who missed all of last season because of torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), is hoping to have a big season after the NCAA granted him a sixth year to play.

Bulls head coach Skip Holtz said he is not concerned about the swelling and is just being cautious with a guy who is expected to be a crucial part of the receiving corps.

For his part, Love said he is fine, feels he is in for a big season and is ready to resume a leadership role on the team. The 6-2, 208 pounder said he never felt better and is not worried about the injury.

Should Aycock resignation raise concern about USF's Scott

Carl Franks has always believed a football team can never have enough running backs.

Running backs are arguably more susceptible to injury than other football players and sometimes the smallest nick or knack can affect their performance, many football coaches believe.

When he was running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at USF under Jim Leavitt, Franks sometimes used a running back by committee approach to the dismay of some fans. Some wanted to see one guy emerge from the pack like many local people felt about Mike Ford, the Sarasota High product considered to be the best running back Manatee-Sarasota County ever produced.

Franks is now Director of Player of Personnel under USF head coach Skip Holtz, but even with a new coach his philosophy seems to be on point.

The Bulls lost running back Dontae Aycock, the highly touted transfer from Auburn, this week when he quit the team. Aycock was overweight and admitted to Holtz that his heart just wasn’t in it.

Initial reports from USF listed the 5-11 Aycock at 253 pounds, which would’ve meant a 29 pound weight gain since the spring. It was corrected to 233 pounds, which still represented a nine pound weight gain from spring that left Holtz commenting he needed to trim down.

Aycock reportedly told Holtz he couldn’t do it and turned his gear before the Bulls left for their Vero Beach spring camp.

The Aycock situation has to raise concern about Darrell Scott, another transfer running back (from Colorado) who has had weight issues in the past that reportedly affected this performance and led to injuries.

The six-foot-one-inch Scott was listed at 246 in the USF fall roster, which represents a 16 pound increase from the spring.

Also leaving the Bulls was Venice defensive end Brandon Wilkinson, who told Holtz he wanted to go a school where he could get more playing time quicker.