Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Poole remains solid Florda recruit despite media reports

Media reports that Brian Poole is opening up his recruitment because of last week's trip to Notre Dame are overblown and not realistic.

The Southeast High defensive back remains firmly committed to Florida and his mother said his heart has always been with the Gators.

Poole, rated the number one cornerback in the country by one recruiting website, said last summer that he planned to take all five recruiting trips allowed by the NCAA. His mother said Alabama could be his next visit.

He also has said every week that Florida is his first choice and that he regularly talks with Florida coaches, including head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp told Poole to be ready to make an impact next season. That is often seen as a recruting tool, but in this case it seems legitimate. The Gators have problems in the secondary and Poole already has the size and skills to work his way right into that secondary.

Some people might not like the idea that Poole is taking his visits though he has committed to Florida. But it's not his fault. If a school wants to pay his way to their campus because they still want a chance to "steal" him why shouldn't he go.

His mother said the trip she made to Notre Dame last weekend with his father was nice, but she didn't seem overly excited about it. Anything can happen, but it is highly unlikely Poole will not be wearing a Gators uniform next season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dick Vitale tribute nets needed dollars for cancer research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research and the New Jersey Friends of V, announced that two recent New Jersey events___the Inaugural Jimmy V New Jersey Dinner and the Duffy Alberta Charity Golf Classic, netted more than $100,000 for cancer research.

The Jimmy V New Jersey Dinner was dubbed “Welcome Home Dick Vitale” and honored the longtime supporter of The V Foundation and New Jersey native, Dick Vitale. It resulted in a bonanza of good will and much needed bucks for cancer research.

During the sold-out event, East Rutherford’s Mayor and Vitale’s former player, Jim Cassella, announced that an East Rutherford playground and basketball court will be named in Vitale’s honor.

“I was in awe and emotionally touched when I discovered that the basketball courts and playground in East Rutherford would be named in my honor,” said Vitale. “I’m also very excited about The V Foundation’s emerging presence in New Jersey and I’m optimistic about ongoing fundraising efforts in my home town.”

The Duffy Alberta Charity Golf Classic was held in Haworth, New Jersey, on October 10th to honor Charles “Duffy” Alberta, one of Vitale’s former players who passed away in January following a battle with cancer. This event was held in conjunction with the “Welcome Home Dick Vitale” event.

"The Duffy Alberta Charity Golf Classic has given us the opportunity to honor my dad’s legacy while raising much needed research dollars to help families touched by this terrible disease,” said Chris Alberta, Duffy’s son. “By designating the proceeds from our event to The V Foundation, we pay tribute to Dick for his impact on my dad’s life and his own passion for eradicating pediatric cancer."

USF's Sterling Griffin lost for the year; Bulls hope A.J. Love can step in

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the USF football team they just did.

Receiver Sterling Griffin, the one shining light for an inconsistent offense, will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his right ankle in Saturday's game against Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, it is the same ankle that caused Griffin to miss all of last season when he dislocated it and fractured the bottom of his fibula.

The sophomore was the Bulls leading receiver and favorite target for quarterback B.J. Daniels showing a knack for getting open and holding onto everything thrown his way. He leads the Bulls with 40 catches for 493 yards.

The Bulls are hoping sixth year senior A.J. Love can return to full health and help out. The Southeast High product missed all of last season with a torn ACL and has seen limited action since injuring his ankle against Pittsburgh.

The one bright spot is the emergence of some new receivers in the Bulls lost to Cincinnati. Redshirt freshman Deonte Welch had a career game with five catches for a team leading 130 yards and showed great promise.

Andre Davis also shined catching four passes for 60 yards, including a 10 yard TD pass with a defender draped all over him and 1:27 left in the game that gave USF a temporary lead.

USF head coach Skip Holtz said reserve cornerback Ricardo Dixon tore his ACL against Cincinnati and is lost for the season.

All the injuries happened in the same end zone where Cincinnati scored the game winning touchdown with 12 seconds left.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Brian Poole visits Notre Dame, but don't expect him to switch from Florida

Brian Poole visited Notre Dame this past weekend, but don't expect him to flip from his commitment to Florida to the Fighting Irish.

It was the second time the Southeast High star visited Notre Dame in two years. His visit last year as a junior was unofficial and this time his parents came with him leading some to speculate he might change his mind.

Anything is possible and his dad, Brian Poole Sr., told the media that nothing is basically etched in stone.

Poole, who is expected to play cornerback next season, has steadfastly maintained two objectives; that he is committed to Florida and that he is going to take all of his five visits.

He was at the Florida-Alabama game and has been in regular touch with Gators head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp has told Poole to be ready to play next year and make an impact. The 5-11, 190 pounder already has the size to play defensive back in the SEC and his speed is off the charts.

As his dad said anything is possible, but it's highly unlikely Poole will change his mind. Week in and week out he has said he wants to be a Gator and knows he could step on the field early at Florida.

One person rooting for Poole to choose Notre Dame is ESPN super guru basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who is close to the school where his daughters played tennis and his son-in-law was a quarterback.

Tee Shepard and Ronald Darby, two cornerbacks, have verbally committed to Notre Dame. Darby is taking other visits while it is said Shepard could move to safety, a position Poole can also play.

Lenita Williams, Brian's mother, said the trip to Notre Dame went well and that they were impressed with the football program's high graduation rate. She made the trip with Brian and his dad.

She said Brian is considering taking other visits and has mentioned Alabama as a likely place, but says her son's heart is with the Gators.

Should Skip Holtz seek out Michigan State for advice on penalty woes

Should USF head football coach Skip Holtz contact Michigan State's Mark Dantonio for advice on how to get out of a penalty funk.

In its last two games (both losses), USF committed 19 penalties for 198 yards. The worst came Saturday when the Bulls were flagged 10 times for 109 yards in a heartbreaking 37-34 loss to Cincinnati.

Michigan State had similar penalty problems, but in the Spartans 37-31 victory over Wisconsin Saturday night they were perfect in the discipline department and did not receive one penalty, which is rare as a Florida snowfall.

The previous week Michigan State was whistled 13 times for penalties totaling 124 yards against Michigan and even had a player, William Gholston, suspended for punching a player.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

USF's Darrell Scott seeks redemption against Cincinnati

After Connecticut turned his fumble into the deciding points in a tough loss last week Darrell Scott wanted redemption.

The junior running back never got it. He was pulled him from the game and never returned.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Scott, who has added a new dimension to the University of South Florida running game that has been stagnant the last few years.

Scott was disappointed, but not angry. He knows redemption is a process and has already gotten quite a bit of it by winning a starting job.

The California product was the country’s most ballyhooed high school player when he signed with Colorado. He later was often referred to as the number one bust in the national recruiting Class of 2008.

Criticism seemed to follow him like a shadow even as recent as last summer when some questioned how he could carry 240 pounds on his six-foot-one inch frame.

A likeable, personable individual, Scott took everything in without a complaint and to his credit worked hard on the scout teams last year after he transferred to USF.

Skeptics rightfully questioned what his 146 rushing yard performance really meant against over matched FAMU earlier this season. But he seemed to be on the verge of realizing his promise with a solid 12 carry 76 yard performance at Pittsburgh.

He had 58 yards on 13 carries against Connecticut when his fumble about midway through the third quarter was returned for a 10 yard touchdown and gave UConn what proved to be the deciding points. He was exiled to the bench for the remainder of the game.

Scott said his fumble lost the game though there was plenty of blame to go around with three other turnovers, numerous failed third down conversion attempts and failure to score a point after five trips inside the UConn 35.

“My mistake was crucial so that is why I put it on my shoulders,” Scott said. “I definitely wanted to go back in because I wanted to redeem myself. I didn’t ask. It is the coach’s decision and I just had to ride the wave. Things didn’t pan out the way I wanted and I just had to clear my head after the game.”

Scott said the fumbles at Pittsburgh and Connecticut were the only two of his collegiate career and he just wants to move forward.

USF head coach Skip Holtz intimated that all is forgotten with Scott and that his playing time won’t be reduced.

“We don’t have a doghouse. Darrell played 50 plays in that game and on 48 you would give him a double plus grading,” Holtz said. “His understanding of the blocking schemes is getter better and he is hitting people and falling forward with all that power. We have two talented backs with him and Demetris Murray. We will continue to preach ball security and they will both continue to play.”

Scott believes he is not close to his potential and has a few things he needs to work on along with protecting the ball. He wants to be that break-away runner again that wooed so many college scouts when he was in high school.

“I don’t feel that I am there yet. I can definitely improve on my open field moves,” Scott said. “On the fumble, I didn’t tuck it all the way and somebody from the side or behind me poked it out. But I can’t let it bother me. If you do that it will put doubt in your mind when you get to the line of scrimmage and hesitate and that will mess up your game.”

With some family and friends living in Tampa, Scott feels he has finally found the right place to let his talents blossom. He believes the Bulls offense is the perfect fit for his style of running.

“A big thing for me now is that I am real comfortable with this offense, which is better suited for me and I am healthy compared to when I was at Colorado,” Scott said. “I am very confident with our offensive linemen; that if one of them is supposed to go off and get the linebacker I know he will do that. I can trust in that and do what I have to do, which is hit the hole fast.”

“Right now we are really trying to stay focused because we know these fans want us to win. We want to make our fans happy, but ultimately we want to make ourselves happy.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Florida commit Brian Poole has Oscar winning night for Seminoles

Southeast super star and Florida commit Brian Poole "only played" six positions in his team's double overtime victory over Sarasota Riverview Friday night.

But Poole showed why Florida head coach Will Muschamp can't wait to get him to Gainesville next season and has been telling him to get ready to play immediately.

Poole scored four touchdowns and accounted for both of the Seminoles touchdowns in overtime throwing a 10 yard scoring strike in the first overtime and running for an eight yard touchdown, which accounted for the winning points in the second overtime.

Besides those heroics, Poole returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and scored on a 50 yard run on his team's second offensive play of the game.

The senior capped off his big night, but knocking away a pass in the endzone in the second overtime to end the game.

Willie Taggart gets "Uncle Mo" riding high at Western Kentucky

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart says it's good to have "Uncle Mo" rolling with the Hilltoppers after they won their second straight game.

WKU (2-4, 2-1 Sun Belt Conference) has plenty of "Uncle Mo" — Taggart's moniker for momentum — heading into Saturday's game against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Hilltoppers beat Middle Tennessee State two weeks ago and shut out Florida Atlantic 20-2 last weekend.

The wins were the Hilltoppers' first back-to-back victories since 2007.

"You always want 'Uncle Mo' on your side," Taggart said. "Whenever he's on our side, good things will happen. As soon as he jumps to the other side, you go, 'Aw, man.'"

The former Manatee High standout quarterback and the Hilltoppers know that feeling all too well.

Western Kentucky was coming off a win over Louisiana-Lafayette that ended its nation-leading 26-game losing streak when the Hilltoppers folded in their 33-6 homecoming loss to North Texas.

"We had a young football team that couldn't handle all the things that were going on off the field," Taggart said. "I thought we let them get too involved in that and had a lot of pats on the backs."

They get a shot at homecoming redemption on Saturday.

WKU plays Louisiana-Lafayette in its homecoming, but the Ragin' Cajuns are a better team than the one the Hilltoppers beat last year. However, a win over the Sun Belt leaders would push the Hilltoppers into contention for their first league championship.

That has been the well-advertised goal of Taggart and his players. It started becoming a reality, Taggart said, after they parlayed a 44-16 loss last month to Indiana State into fixing what was wrong with the Hilltoppers.

"We were banking on it to be because it was a bad time for our program and everything that we were trying to build," Taggart said. "It was good for our football team to come together and believe in each other more than anything."

WKU won again last weekend despite some special teams miscues. Kickers Casey Tinius and Monte Merrick combined to miss three field goal attempts and an extra point.

With kickers a combined 2 of 20 this season — the worst percentage in the Football Bowl Subdivision — Taggart plans to turn to freshman Jesse Roy against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The kicking gaffes didn't matter as WKU 's defense produced a shutout, which included holding the Owls to 121 yards of total offense.

Defensive lineman Kenny Martin said the Hilltoppers are "confident."

"Right now, we got a lot of belief on the team," Martin said. "Everybody's feeding off of each other's energy. Everybody's loving everyone. We've never had it before. Everybody's happy with what's going on and ready to keep it going."

WKU hasn't won at home win since September of 2008 in a losing skid that dates back to September of 2008.

A home win would put a stop to talk of losing streaks — and also ensure "Uncle Mo" is staying on the Hilltoppers' side.

"After we won at MTSU I definitely felt (momentum) then," said defensive back Kareem Peterson. "To come out and shut out FAU — it's rolling now. It's rolling and we aren't going to stop."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jacoby Brissett gets start over Jeff Driskel for Gators against Auburn

The Florida quarterback controversy has officially begun.

It was launched Friday morning when Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced Jacoby Brissett (left #17) would start Saturday at Auburn.

Jeff Driskel, the heir apparent to John Brantley and anyone else, is said to be healthy after sitting out last week’s loss to LSU with an ankle injury.

It’s still too early to anoint anyone a permanent starter and incumbent John Brantley could be back for the Georgia game on October 29th after the Gators bye week.

Brissett completed 8 of 14 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown against LSU, which was considered impressive because he was for all and intents and purposes going to redshirt this season.

There were little details about why Brissett will start and there could be several reasons, including Driskel’s ankle not being one-hundred percent, thought the coaches said he was fine.

It gives credence to the argument that Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis really liked the 6-3, 239 Brissett and recruited him hard even though Driskel was committed and considered by many to be the front runner for the job in 2012 if not before.

Weis said Driskel was fine this week and shared snaps with Brissett. For the season, Driskel is 7 for 16 for 73 yards and has thrown two interceptions without a touchdown.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brian Poole could be anywhere, but at Florida he will be in the secondary

Brian Poole is like a good mystery novel. The Southeast High standout can pop up anywhere, anytime, anyplace on the football.

But the one thing we know about Poole is that he will excel where-ever he plays. The defensive back, who has verbally committed to Florida, played quarterback two weeks for the first time since his little league days and was impressive against nationally touted Manatee.

Tonight against Sarasota Riverview, Poole will start at cornerback, but is expected to be used at quarterback, receiver and running back. He will also be a return man on some punts and kickoffs.

Southeast head coach Paul Maechtle who has had some great versatile players during his 30 plus years at the school, including Peter Warrick, says Poole is up there with the best.
Click here for full story.

Ryne Giddins ready to make his move at USF

TAMPA- When Ryne Giddins signed with USF out of high school in 2009 it was considered a coup for the Bulls football program.

A first team USA Today All-American and Rivals.Com’s Florida defensive player of the year, he became the most ballyhooed and decorated recruit to join the program.

Then head coach Jim Leavitt was been hailed as recruiting guru for landing the Seffner Armwood High product. Giddins was the type of kid who normally went to Florida or FSU.

He was a big, strong defensive end who had great speed and could jettison an already strong defense to another height.

Fast forward to 2011. Everyone is still waiting for the now redshirt sophomore. He hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t lived up to expectations, though perhaps all the hype was a bit unfair.

Giddins freshman year ended after three games because of an injury. Last year he started two games on a veteran defensive line and had what you might call modest numbers with 3.5 sacks.

With three starters gone from the defensive line, this was supposed to be the year the “real” Giddins to emerge. He was called a speed rusher, who could bring back memories of former USF All-American defensive end George Selvie.

Giddins was labeled “potential superstar.”

The 6-4, 261 pounder has yet to remove the “potential” from his bio.

A lot of it might not be his fault. The Bulls defensive line had to be rebuilt and is still a work in progress. The debacle at Pittsburgh two weeks ago that resulted in 44-17 loss where the Bulls allowed 523 yards didn’t help.

“I still have a big chip on my shoulder from the game and when I watch the film I get sick to my stomach,” Giddins said. “We broke down as a team and just didn’t trust in each other. When one person missed his assignment the other said let me try and make up for that and then I miss my assignment. We had a bunch of those and missed tackles. It was a snowball effect.”

Giddins doesn’t have the numbers he wants and at least statistically has been outshone by true freshman defensive tackle Elkino Watson, who leads the Bulls with 6.5 tackles for loss.

But Giddins could never be accused of lack of effort. He believes a lot of the problems at Pittsburgh were mental and the result of young teammates not believing in themselves.

The criticism on Giddens was that had the speed to be an effective pass rusher, but lacked fluidity to get around offensive linemen. He worked hard during the off season to improve his technique and feels things will be better this weekend at Connecticut. He is also not afraid of competition and is among the first to praise Watson.

“We had a great week of practice and made some minor adjustments which will help along with trusting our teammates to do what they are supposed to do,” Giddins said. “Pitt kicked our butt, but we feel we fixed what need to be fixed. Elkino is a playmaker above everything else. He is very committed and doesn’t take anything for granted.”

USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder agrees with Giddens that the Bulls didn’t take care of their own assignments and showed a lack of trust in each other.

He is concerned that Giddins has only one sack this season and the other starter at defensive end, Patrick Hampton, doesn’t have any. Backup defensive ends Claude Davis and Julius Forte have combined for six, but that could be more the result of being in the game at a more opportune time.

“We would like to see more production (from Giddins and Hampton),” Snyder said. “Those guys need to start coming and providing us with some pass rush. Then again, it’s hard. Pittsburgh was a little bit of an option football team.”

Giddens is ready to amp up his game and take advantage of how he improved his technique over the summer. He and his teammates will trust each other this time, he believes.

Most NFL scouting reports list Giddins as USF’s most promising pro prospect and some publications are predicting a double digit number of sacks.

So far the production hasn’t met the expectations, but no one is giving up on Giddins, especially himself.

Dick Vitale Tennis extravaganza returns to Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club

The 2011 Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic will return to the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club from Nov. 11-13, 2011.

This is the only clay court college tournament in the nation and the only event of its kind that brings men’s and women’s teams in for one event.

New this year, ESPN sportscaster and Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale is adding his name to the tournament.

“This event is going to feature some of the greatest players on the collegiate level,” Vitale said. “Lakewood Ranch is blessed to have teams like these, all coming here. I would encourage anyone who wants to get involved to sponsor the tournament with a banner that will hang at all the weekend events – including the party at my house. I’ll be here to introduce the players and it’s gonna be awesome baby with a capital A!”

The best college players in the country will battle it out in three days of competition.

Men’s teams include Arizona, Pepperdine, Minnesota, Miami, Florida, Ole Miss., Virginia, Alabama, and Duke. Women's teams include Oklahoma St., Mississippi St., Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Baylor, Northwestern and Clemson.

“We have a waiting list for college teams that want to enter this tournament,” said Paul Lederman, Lakewood Ranch’s director of athletics. “It’s a huge win for our area, and has become a huge event in the collegiate tennis world after our successful inaugural event in 2010. We plan to bring this back every year. “

Admission to the tournament will be free and open to the public but donations will be taken for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator.

Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $100 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are paid by the Foundation's endowment.

The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit

Anyone interested in sponsoring the Dick Vitale Clay Court Classic or hanging a banner at the tournament or at the party at Dick Vitale’s house can contact the tournament team at 941-907-2255 or 941-907-2935. The full tournament schedule will be released at a later date.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Boise State and Big East is a marriage made in heaven

Boise State and the Big East Conference!

It's a match made in heaven. What are you waiting for. This is the perfect marriage!

Boise State's record over recent years and BCS ranking will save the Big East and allow it to hold onto its Automatic Qualifying status.

In return Boise State won't have to beat teams by 50 points and go undefeated to get into a BCS bowl and have virtually no chance for the BCS title game.

Why would either side turn this down. The Big East only needs Boise State as a football school. This is perfect unless there is something we don't know.

Are the Broncos afraid of playing West Virginia, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers, Louisville and Connecticut every year. No offense to the Mountain West, but overall these are better teams than what the league has now.

Get this done. It's a no brainer. The only thing that would ruin this deal is if the BCS changed its qualification rules to be an AQ and that is unlikely. Lawsuits would be flying all over the country and those guys don't want that. They make too much money.

Even if Louisville bolts for another conference as reported there are enough BCS points among Boise State, West Virginia and Cincinnati for the Big East to remain ahead of the current non AQ conferences.

So get it done. Boise State-Big East. It's the perfect marriage!

Adrien Jenkins and other Southeast alumni shine on college level

Sometimes you have to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.

It’s particularly tough when you have a resume filled with blank spaces due to some personal mishaps.

But Adrien Jenkins took that risk and it paid huge dividends when he ran for a collegiate career record 168 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 carries in sparking the University of Charleston to a 49-35 victory over Seton Hill last Saturday.

In Charleston’s previous game, the Southeast High product did not touch the ball. He went to the coaches and asked them to give him more of a role in the offense.

“I didn’t demand the ball. I don’t like to do that. I just asked for a bigger role than just blocking,” Jenkins said. “I felt like I could be a playmaker and if they didn’t want me in that role I wanted to go to defense. Fortunately they gave me the opportunity. I felt like my old self again, the one that played for Southeast.”

Jenkins 14 yard per carry average was impressive. The junior had touchdown runs of 52 and 26 yards, which were the two longest of the game for Charleston.

Another Southeast product, defensive back Kieron James, is having a solid year for FCS Western Illinois. The junior is fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with five passes defended and leads the Leathernecks with 1.5 sacks, four pass breakups and four deflections, and has 17 tackles.

Receiver Charles Chestnut and offensive lineman Enock Presendieu, also from Southeast, have made key contributions to WIU.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IMG Academies and Dick Vitale team up for Shoot Down Cancer event

The IMG Basketball Academy along with ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will host the Shoot Down Cancer Free Throw Shootout on October 15th, 2011 at the IMG campus.

The event will benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research, started in 1993 by ESPN and legendary NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who lost his life to cancer. The V Foundation has raised more than $100 million and awarded cancer research grants in nearly 40 states.

The event coincides with October's Breast Cancer Awareness. It's purpose is to help in the fight against breast and other cancers as well as raise awareness about healthy living in young people.

All players and coaches of the IMG Basketball Academy will be participating in the shootout, and the rest of the IMG Academies community has been encouraged to join in and participation is open to the general public.

During the event, participants will shoot 150 free throws while raising money based on donations contributed. Anyone can be a part of the event by pledging per free throw, giving a lump sum or by signing up to participate (limited to 40 spots).

In addition to the free throw shootout, guests will have the opportunity to honor loved ones who have fought or are currently fighting cancer by writing their name on commemorative basketballs that will then become a part of a permanent “Shoot Down Cancer Memory Wall.”

All participants will receive Shoot Down Cancer award medals and Under Armour performance shirts for their participation. Additionally, there will be a handful of prizes given out to both participants and to guests in the crowd.

Each of the 12 baskets at the IMG Basketball Academy will consist of a 10-person team. In a round, each person on each team will shoot 20 free throws. Once all ten members of each team have completed the 20 free throws, teams will rotate to another hoop in the gym. Each hoop will include a cancer fact aimed to help raise awareness for all participants.

Awards will be given to the following participants:

* Top 5 Individuals
* Top “Hoop” Team
* All participants will receive a medal for their involvement and support

Event Schedule
Time Description
8:00am Gym opens
8:00-8:30am Individual registrations
8:40-9:00am Opening comments and Academy viewing of the Jimmy V ESPY speech
9:00-11:30am 1st Half - 80 free throws per person
11:30am-12:00pm Halftime (appetizers for lunch)
12:00-2:30pm 2nd Half - 70 free throws per person
2:30-3:00pm Awards presentation

Some may ask why simply shooting free throws will take nearly 6 hours. The answer is simple: the structure of the event promotes patience and supporting others.

These same characteristics are symbolic of the characteristics exhibited by those who have battled cancer. Making progress in the fight against cancer takes time, patience, and persistence. Shoot Down Cancer will take time, patience, and persistence.

To make a donation to the IMG Basketball Academy Shoot Down Cancer event, please visit our online donation page by clicking here. To make a donation by check, please mail check to the address at right. Thank you for your participation and support of the IMG Basketball Academy Shoot Down Cancer Free Throw Shootout.

Please direct any questions to:

Danny DuChene- Shoot Down Cancer Organizer

Nate Vander Sluis- Head Junior National Coach

Blake Ulrich- IMG Academies Director of Events

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boise State could save Big East and USF football

It looks as if the presidents of the remaining Big East Conference football schools are improving their math skills.

The announcement today that the Big East would go after Boise State in its search for more football teams is sure to get the adrenalin going for the University of South Florida and the other five remaining football members.

Unless the BCS changes its evaluation rules, Boise State could just about guarantee the Big East would remain a BCS conference___And that's what everybody wants.

The Big East should go after Boise State with every carrot it can dangle. There are reports that Colorado based Air Force would be invited, which gives the Broncos at least one team in close proximity.

The Big East needs to make this deal and use its best selling point,which is a ticket to the BCS championship.

Boise State, the little engine that could, wants to be in a BCS conference and if the Broncos joined the Big East and the current football schools (minus Pittsburgh and Syracuse) remain this could happen.

Sources in the Big East say the conference is going hard after Boise State, Air Force and Navy along with UCF and Temple. If Louisville stays and one more is added it would give the conference 12 teams and a conference championship game, which means more money.

The Big East needs to make Boise State an offer it can't refuse and it's all there. There is the New York TV market provided by Rutgers, the Philadelphia market that Temple, which is also being considered, could bring___not to mention Florida. There is a Big East championship game.

If Louisville bolts to the Big 12 get another team; there are plenty of them around including East Carolina, undefeated Houston and up and coming SMU knocking on the door. If you get desperate there is always Villanova, already in Big East basketball juggernaut, but a woeful 1-5 FCS (I-AA) team this season.

Boise State is the key. Get the Broncos and the Big East should remain a BCS automatic qualifier. If the Broncos join the rest should be easy. Arguably the football conference will be stronger with Boise State, Air Force, Navy, Temple and UCF.

Big East officials need to be aggressive and go after what they want instead of sitting back and waiting for things to happen.

Boise State can make it happen. Heck pay their plane fare to come east and play if you have to. We are talking life or death.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Taylor Martinez second half performance for Nebraska keeps Brion Carnes waiting

Nebraska's maligned quarterback Taylor Martinez shook off a bad first half to the lead Cornhuskers to come from behind 34-27 victory over Ohio State Saturday night.

It means the long awaited appearance of Manatee High product Brion Carnes might have to wait for awhile, which might not be all that bad.

Carnes is the only other Nebraska quarterback to throw a pass this season (1 for 1 for 19 yards) and many fans have been clamoring for him to get a chance, especially after the Huskers debacle at Wisconsin last week.

Martinez was roundly booed in Nebraska's resounding loss to Wisconsin last week when he threw three interceptions. The boos continued at halftime in the Ohio State game when he was ineffective and threw another pick and the Buckeyes took a 20-6 halftime lead.

Things changed in the second half. A strip by Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David led to a Martinez 18 yard touchdown run. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was knocked out of the game with a sprained ankle and the roof caved in the for Buckeyes offense.

Martinez ran for 102 yards and 16 for 22 passing for 191 yards. But you can't escape the question of whether he can do that against good team, which Ohio State is not.

The sophomore has obvious flaws. His throwing motion is awkward and he doesn't have a strong arm. In his defense, he knows the offense and can pick his spots at a runner.

The question remains is he the long term answer.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Expect Jeff Driskel to start for Gators, but Jacoby Brissett could finish

Just about everyone associated with the University of Florida football program expects Jeff Driskel to be the starter against LSU, but that's where the certainty ends.

It might surprise some that true freshman Jacoby Brissett is listed as the backup going into Saturday's 3:30 p.m. kickoff game. Afterall, he joined the team late, doesn't have near the knowledge of the offense as redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and the coaching staff doesn't want him to burn a year of eligibility.

But Brissett is a talent, which is a reason offensive coordinator Charlie Weis went after him with Driskel already in the Gator fold.

A team can never have enough running backs and that might be true for quarterbacks. But Brissett is no slouch in the talent department.

It's anybody's guess how Driskel will fare against the AP's number one team whose defense is right up there with Alabama. And Driskel tweaked his ankle a little in last week's loss to the Crimson Tide, though Gators head coach Will Muschamp says it's nothing to be concerned about.

Driskel will be the fifth true freshman quarterback to start for the Gators in their long history. Three of the other four had good careers (Wayne Peace, Jesse Palmer and Chris Leak).

Peace, Palmer and Leak recorded victories in their inaugural starts, but none faced an opponent as formidable as this year's LSU team, which ranks third nationally in rushing defense and ninth in total defense and scoring defense, allowing less than 13 points per game.

Whoever the quarterback, he is going to need help from the run game and the way Florida played against Alabama that is expecting a lot. Running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are quick as lighting, but small. Alabama's quickness negated their speed and reduced them to less than mediocre because of their lack of power.

Some believe LSU has a quicker defense than Alabama and the Tigers are nearly as effective against the run, allowing only 3.8 yards per carry against a tougher schedule so far.

Gator fans are hoping for a little deja' vu. In 2003 with Leak as the true freshman starting quarterback, Florida went into Baton Rouge and upset the Tigers 19-7. But realistically expecting someone as untested as Driskel to come up with a similar performance and an over-matched Gator defense to hold LSU to seven points is asking quite a bit to say the least.

Willie Taggart gets first win of season for Western Kentucky

Taggart's Western Kentucky Hilltoppers got their first victory of the season before a national television audience Thursday night when they edged Middle Tennessee 36-33 in double overtime.

WKU got the winning points when Kuwaun Jakes connected on a 7 yard TD pass to Bobby Rainey. On the previous possession of the second overtime period Middle Tennessee went ahead 33-30 on a 23-yard field goal.

It was fulfilling victory for Taggart, the former Manatee High great who took over the program last year after it had two consecutive winless seasons. He coached the Hilltoppers to a 2-10 record and was hoping to get off to a better start this year, but WKU lost its first four games.

"I told our team heading into overtime that this is when big-time football teams step up, and if they wanted this win to go out and get it," Taggart said. "For our young team to come into a hostile environment and fight through adversity, it can be a big confidence booster moving forward. I'm really proud of these guys and really happy to get this win for Hilltopper nation."

The Hilltoppers took a 23-16 lead when Sarasota Riverview product John Evans returned a kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown with 9:10 left in regulation.

Boe Brand, a true freshman from Southeast, caught two passes for 29 yards, including a 24-yard reception, to help the Hilltoppers.

Nebraska QB controversy with Brion Carnes and Taylor Martinez reminds us of Tommie Frazier

There is a quarterback controversy brewing at Nebraska and it involves another Manatee High signal caller.

Huskers incumbent starter Taylor Martinez has taken a lot of heat after Nebraska was blown out by Wisconsin 48-17 last week with the sophomore throwing three interceptions.

Nebraska is 4-1 with a lot of people calling for Brion Carnes to take over the quarterback slot. Ironically the Huskers were 4-1 back in 1992 when Tommie Frazier took over the starting QB job from senior Mike Grant.

Frazier took off from there on a spectacular career that saw him earn a spot as a backup quarterback on the All-Century team selected by Sports Illustrated. If not for blood clots that temporarily derailed his career, Frazier might haven reached in an even higher status.

Frazier and Carnes started their careers at Manatee and it was Frazier who encouraged Carnes to sign with Nebraska.

Interesting to see if history in some way will repeat itself.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said there is a wide gap between Carnes and Martinez and didn't anticipate any changes in the near future. But could another shaky performance from Martinez change that thinking?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What does Nebraska great Tommie Frazier think of Taylor Martinez?

Wonder what former Nebraska great Tommie Frazier thinks about current beleaguered Huskers sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez?

A lot of fans are clamoring for backup Brion Carnes to take over the QB job. It was Frazier who convinced Carnes to sign with Nebraska encouraging him to compete against the best.

Both graduated from Manatee High and Carnes took Frazier's advice turning down offers where he might have gotten on the field quicker.

Frazier is a person of class and would never comment on what soon might be a quarterback controversy. But you can't help but wondering what he is thinking.

A lot of people in their hometown of Bradenton felt Carnes was making a mistake signing with Nebraska because it would be too tough to get playing time. Frazier did not feel that way. Even knowing the quarterback situation at Nebraska, he told Carnes to come.

Husker fans are still seething over how Wisconsin pounded Nebraska 48-17 last Saturday ruining their undefeated status and their pride. The Huskers led 14-13 in the second quarter when Martinez imploded and threw three interceptions.

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini called the criticism "a shame."

There has been some comparisons made between Martinez, Frazier and Cornhusker Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.

Martinez has thrown 12 interceptions in 17 starts and has a career completion percentage of 56.1 percent. Frazier had 18 interceptions in 509 career passes and 49.1 percent completion rate.

But the difference his in quality wins. Frazier owns that stat guiding Nebraska to two national titles and was 33-3 as a starter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Brantley out for LSU; his replacement uncertain

Florida quarterback John Brantley will miss the LSU game with high ankle sprain and his return is uncertain.

The fifth year senior, who was injured just before halftime of last Saturday night’s Alabama game, was reported to be wearing a medical boot on his right leg today.

Gators head coach Will Muschamp said as of today true freshman Jeff Driskel is listed as starter, but things could change before Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff at LSU. He said others who will take significant reps this week are redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and true freshman Jacoby Brissett.

“We will do what’s best for our football team,” Muschamp said.

The coach said offensive coordinator Charlie Weis would put together a game plan that would play to the strengths of Driskel and the other quarterbacks.

Coming off arguably the best half of his career, Brantley has been sharp this season completing 66 of 102 passes for 942 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Against Alabama’s highly touted defense he was 11 for 16 for 190 yards and one touchdown.

Driskel is 7 for 16 for 73 yards and two interceptions. Murphy has never thrown a pass and Brissett has never appeared in a game.

A high ankle sprain is the sprain of a syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula on the lower leg. High ankle sprains are caused when the lower leg and foot twist out.

High ankle sprains are difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to determine how long an athlete might be out with the time ranging from a few days to six months. They are particularly tough on running backs because it takes away one of their strengths. For a drop back passer like Brantley the injury might not be so debilitating.