With college football beginning today, WDRB's College Football Notebook will make a change next week. Instead of publishing on Saturday, the Notebook will move to Thursday publication. Same content, different day. Have a feature you'd like to see in the notebook? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do what we can to work it in. But now, on with the 'Book . . .
U of L defensive coordinator likes Cards' offense
Few people have had a better look at the University of Louisville offense than the man who tries to stop them in practice every day. Cardinals' defensive coordinator Vance Bedford likes what he sees from the offense.
"I think they're really ready," he said. "I love our offense. The offensive line has done a tremendous job. Teddy Bridgewater is a talented athlete. We have a couple of guys, you have to be honest, we have speed, we have size, we have some NFL receivers. IT reminds me of when I was at Michigan. Now it's only during camp. They have to do it in a game. But we have some talented receivers."
You have to remember, when Bedford was at Michigan from 1995-98, they had a guy at receiver named Amani Toomer, another good one in Mercury Hayes, then Tai Streets took over and was the top receiver on a national championship team. Bedford, as defensive backs coach, also coached a pretty fair guy on his unit -- Charles Woodson -- who even jumped into some sets at wideout from time to time.
Cards like the rain games
The two most famous weather-related games in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium history have earned special spots in the memories of U of L fans. With remnants of Hurricane Isaac reportedly set to pass through the region to bring periodic downpours this weekend, perhaps a review is necessary.
Sept. 2, 2000 -- UK had led throughout when U of L drove for a touchdown that pulled it within 19-14 in the third quarter, then a thunderstorm hit. With lightning flashing around the stadium, fans were told to return to their cars and listen to the radio for information. The game was delayed for 72 minutes, after which, U of L scored to take a 20-19 lead.
The teams exchanged scores in the fourth quarter, and a late FG block by Curry Burns forced overtime. Antoine Harris intercepted Jared Lorenzen to end UK's first overtime possession, then U of L running back Tony Stallings broke one of the iconic plays of the series, a first-play TD run from 25 yards out to end the game.
Sept. 26, 2002 -- With remnants of Tropical Storm Isidore providing constant rain from the beginning of the game to the end, U of L battled No. 4-ranked Florida State, the highest ranked team ever to visit the facility, to a draw in regulation, and then in a play that looked nearly identical to Stallings' TD run against Kentucky, scored the game-winner on a 25-yard run by Henry Miller. Fans stormed the already storm-battered field, pulled down the goal posts and capped a signature win in the program's history.
It also explains why Cards fans tend to get excited when there's big rain in the forecast.
Williamson ready to see, chase, hit Bridgewater
Avery Williamson is scheduled to start his first game at linebacker for Kentucky Sunday against Louisville. He's a junior from Milan, Tenn. Williamson played in all 12 games last season, averaging better than four tackles per game. Nice number for a sub.
Williamson has heard the hype about Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater – and says that it is deserved.
"They have a good quarterback," Williamson said. "He's a good quarterback. I'll give him that credit.
"He has a good arm, but he can run with the ball, too. You've got to really be careful when you're dropping in coverage at the linebacker position because he can take off in a heartbeat and he can really pick up some ground."
So what is the key to stopping Louisville from scoring 24 points, the total the Cards generated last season in Lexington?
"We've just got to go in there and stop the run," Williamson said. "We've got to stop the run. They have a good Wildcat system as well. I just feel if we can go in there and stop the run we can do some damage to their offense."
Make a note of this: Williamson made only one tackle for a loss last season and he did not contribute a sack. He said he intends to register a sack Sunday.
"I'm real confident about that," Williamson said. "I plan on getting me some sacks in this game, too. I feel like Bud (Dupree, a defensive end) on the edge, that's going to wreak havoc. We've got a great defensive line. We really should get some hits on the quarterback.
"I love hitting quarterbacks. I really haven't had a chance to hit a quarterback since I've been here. I'm excited about it. We're just going to go out there and try to bring it to them."
Wrong Way Parker Coming To Town
We've only finished part of opening weekend, but we have a leading candidate for knucklehead play of the year. And the nominee – Kent State defensive back Andre Parker – is coming to Lexington next Saturday for Kent's game at Kentucky in Commonwealth Stadium.
Kent lead Towson 24-7 late in the second quarter Thursday night when the Golden Flashes punted the football. The ball hit the ground and then glanced off the Towson return guy and into the hands of Parker, who was covering the kick.
Parker made a nice catch. Then he started running.
The wrong way.
He weaved through traffic, broke tackles and crossed midfield. He carried the football 58 yards until he was dragged down by two Towson players and became an instant Internet sensation, even before the game was over.
"I know the rule, but it happened so fast, I didn't know it happened at first," Kent State coach Darrell Hazell told the Akron Beacon-Journal. Coaches in the Kent press box started screaming, " ‘Wrong way! He's running the wrong way!' " into the head coach's headset. "Then, once I saw him," Hazell said. "I was just hoping one of our players would tackle him."
Towson players took care of that.
But so did the rules of the game. You cannot advance a muffed punt, so the ball was returned to the Towson 7-yard line.
Kent State could laugh about it later. Kent defeated Towson, 41-21.
Scoreboard Watching in Bloomington
Indiana opens its second season with coach Kevin Wilson Saturday night in Memorial Stadium against Indiana State.
The Hoosiers have lost nine straight, a streak that started with a 24-21 loss at North Texas last September.
But here is a more amazing statistic. Not only have the Hoosiers lost nine straight. Indiana hasn't had the lead at any point of the second half during its last nine games.
They were tied with Penn State, 3-3, more than two minutes into the third quarter before the Nittany Lions kicked a field goal and eventually won 16-10 (a victory later taken away from the NCAA.)
And Indiana was also tied with Ohio State, 20-20, until Braxton Miller threw a 20-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds to play in the third quarter. Ohio State won that game, 34-20.
Here is a rundown of the closest Indiana was to leading in the second half of its final nine games in 2011.
Game Four – North Texas 24, Indiana 21.
Game Five – Penn State 3 Indiana 3, first 2:42 of the third quarter.
Game Six – Illinois 34, Indiana 20, fourth quarter.
Game Seven – Wisconsin 38, Indiana 7, halftime.
Game Eight – Iowa 35, Indiana 17, third quarter
Game Nine – Northwestern 45, Indiana 28, third quarter
Game Ten – Ohio State 20, Indiana 20, until Buckeyes scored with 9 seconds to play in third quarter.
Game Eleven – Michigan State 34, Indiana 3, early third quarter.
Game Twelve – Purdue 23, Indiana 17, after three quarters.
Stats For Indiana Fans to Celebrate
Indiana's scheduled includes two non-conference road games, which is unusual for most teams from BCS leagues. One of the games comes later in the season at Navy. But the first one is next Saturday. The Hoosier playing Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
UMass has made the move from the FCS division to FBS football. The Minutemen are members of the Mid-American Conference. But they've got some work to do.
UMass opened against Connecticut Thursday night, and they didn't force a single punt. UMass made three first downs, which is actually a remarkable total when you note the Minutemen ran for three net yards on 24 rushing attempts
Hilltoppers hold a rare home-opener
WKU will do something Saturday night that it hasn't done since 2005 -- open a season at home.
The Hilltoppers welcome rival Austin Peay for a 7 p.m. (Louisville time) kickoff on ESPN3. They've won three straight at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, which is not insignificant, since before that streak, they'd lost 18 in a row there.
WKU outscored its final three home opponents 93-50 last season, and have won seven straight Sun Belt Conference games.
The Hilltoppers hit the road in a big way in Week 2, traveling to Alabama, before coming back to their home state for a game against UK in Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 15.
Twitter 1, Urban Meyer 0 #cantstopthetweeting
Ohio State last week informed reporters arriving for an Urban Meyer news conference that they wouldn't be allowed to Tweet updates live while Meyer was talking, a common practice now among news media, but instead would have to wait until the press conference was over.
When Jason Lloyd, an OSU beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, asked for a reason, he was told that the program had success banning live tweets during some workouts and that reporters couldn't listen to Meyer well if they were Tweeting, anyway.
Not surprisingly, the policy was overturned under protest.
This is the way of the world. Most news conferences are streamed or broadcast live. Twitter is just another way of getting that word out there. It may be that universities want to protect entities that buy broadcast rights for those postgame comments in the future, but at the moment, the media remains free to tweet from any public forum.
ESPN.com asked its readers which version of football they preferred – college or the NFL.
More than 127,000 votes were cast – and the NFL won an easy victory, earning 62 percent of the votes.
Seventeen states favored the college game, a list that included Kentucky, but not Indiana.
But only four states with NFL franchises favored the college game.
1. Georgia (University of Georgia, Georgia Tech over the Atlanta Falcons.) 2. Louisiana (Louisiana State over the New Orleans Saints.) 3. Michigan (Michigan, Michigan State over the Detroit Lions) 4. Ohio (Ohio State over the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals)
Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-08-21 01:47:16 GMT
With classes beginning on Monday, the University of Louisville says it still hasn't gotten word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on 6-9 signee Jaylen Johnson. Rick Pitino said his high school was slow submitting his paperwork.More >>
With classes beginning on Monday, the University of Louisville says it still hasn't gotten word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on 6-9 signee Jaylen Johnson. Rick Pitino said his high school was slow submitting his paperwork. More >>
Wednesday, August 13 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-08-13 20:56:42 GMT
They're back! After a week covering the PGA Championship, Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford return for college football talk, and more, in this week's Sports Page Live webcast. Watch the replay here.More >>
They're back! After a week covering the PGA Championship, Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford return for college football talk, and more, in this week's Sports Page Live webcast. Watch the replay here. More >>