BOZICH | Monday Muse (Request Edition): One Open Football Scrimm - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Monday Muse (Request Edition): One Open Football Scrimmage

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Happy Monday. Time to face the Muse.

1. One of the most unforgettable (one-way) conversations I had with former University of Louisville football coach Howard Schnellenberger came early during his 10-season stay with the Cardinals.

In fact, I believe it was his first season.

He called my office in mid-August with a very direct question. To the best of my memory, it went like this:

“The Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Chicago Tribune were all at our football practice today,” Schnellenberger said. “Where was the local newspaper?”

I believe I laughed.

Not because I couldn’t believe a coach expected the local columnist to attend football practice every day. I laughed because I doubted those three papers actually had reps on the U of L practice field that day. (They didn’t.)

There was a reason Schnellenberger was nicknamed Howard Hyperbole. Schnellenberger was easily perturbed if local media folks did NOT attend his practices.

He didn’t treat practice as if he was protecting the Oval Office. He treated them as a way to sell football and inform writers about what he was trying to achieve.

If a call like that came today, I’d laugh because I couldn’t believe a football coach would expect a local columnist to attend football practice.

Practice is closed – at U of L, Kentucky, Indiana and pretty much across America.

Scrimmages are closed – at U of L, UK and IU.

That's the way Bobby Petrino, Mark Stoops and Kevin Wilson roll.

That’s too bad.

The coaches will tell you it is because they don’t want information about formations, personnel and injuries leaking to opposing schools. I know this is the era of instant video with television stations, newspapers, blogs and fans recording every twitch of the shoulder pads.

I will tell you that it’s overkill. Basketball teams play multiple exhibition games before the season. I’ve never heard a basketball coach howl that he lost a game because of something an opposing team picked up watching an exhibition.

One legitimate open scrimmage prior to the season wouldn’t change the balance of power in college football. The media and fans might even learn something about teams they invest money and energy in to follow.

And who knows, the Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Chicago Tribune might show up.

2. The Twitter Police Make Another Arrest

Somebody should tell Dabo Swinney of Clemson, Mike Leach of Washington State and any other football and basketball coach who bans his players from using Twitter during the season about the remarkable thing John Calipari did at Kentucky last season.

He won 38 straight games while allowing his players to Tweet.

Stunning.

Ground-breaking.

Calipari treats Twitter the way it should be treated – as a teaching moment and a tool to push his brand as well as recognition for his players – not as something to fear. Kentucky included the names of the Twitter accounts of all its players in its press notes for every game. Please get that memo to Swinney.

Coaches love to call themselves teachers. Better to teach your players how to Tweet responsibly and use Twitter to their advantage than simply play the Angry Father Card and shut players down.

3. SEC Hoops Rising

We’re three months before the start of the season but it was a good weekend for Southeastern Conference basketball.

Louisiana State recruit Ben Simmons delivered 22 points and 10 rebounds in his first exhibition game for the Tigers in Australia. Former U of L recruit Antonio Blakeney scored 16. (The link.)

LSU won’t be picked ahead of Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference, but the Tigers have a dynamic collection of young guys, led by Simmons, the nation’s top freshman.

And LSU isn’t the only program dabbling in 5-star recruits. Bruce Pearl secured an oral commitment from Mustapha Heron, a 6-foot-5 wing from Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Conn.

Add Heron to the pair of Top 100 recruits Pearl secured for this season and Auburn is about one backyard cookout from moving into the top tier of the SEC.

4. Charlie Strong Still Searching for the Next Teddy Bridgewater

No player was more essential to the success Charlie Strong delivered at Louisville than quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He moved into the starting lineup three games into Strong’s second season and the Cardinals were on their way to wonderful things in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Strong starts his second season at Texas on Sept. 5. The Longhorns open at Notre Dame.

Does Strong have his Bridgewater in Austin – or at least somebody who can get the Longhorns to eight or nine wins? Longhorn Nation won't stomach another 6-7 with much understanding.

They’re debating that at UT. Strong and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson say they have been impressed by the improvement shown by redshirt sophomore Tyrone Swoopes, a distant cousin to former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes.

Others are not as certain. Swoopes completed only 58 percent of his passes last season and had nearly as many interceptions (11) as touchdowns (13).

Strong said Swoopes is showing more confidence and leadership. Texas will need it. The Longhorns were picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 pre-season media poll.

5. John Wall’s Greatest Assist

Somebody get word to Colin Cowherd. Former Kentucky guard John Wall is still making big plays during the off-season. He’s behaving like a guy you’d love to have run your team.

In fact, you could argue that Wall made his biggest assist Saturday. According to this Washington Post story, Wall and his foundation distributed 300 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to children in need at an area boys’ and girls’ club.

Hat tip to John Wall. Even if Colin Cowherd doesn’t get you.

6. Last Stop for Angel Nunez.

It didn’t work for Angel Nunez at Louisville, long, long ago. Apparently, it didn’t work for Nunez at Gonzaga either.

Nunez, a 6-foot-8 shooter, will play his final college season for Orlando Antigua at South Florida as a fifth-year transfer. He is eligible from day one because he earned his degree. (The link.)

Last chance, Angel. No more stops on the eligibility train. Hope the ball starts going in the hole.

7. Top 2016 NBA Draft Picks

There’s only 10 more months until the 2016 NBA Draft but Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report could not wait to assemble his big board.

So Wasserman put together his list of the Top 20 returning prospects for the 2016 draft – and three local players made the list:

Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell sits at No. 20. Kentucky junior Marcus Lee is ranked 18th. And Ferrell’s teammate, forward Troy Williams, is ranked No. 14.

Who are the top three guys on the list?

Utah center Jakob Poeltl ranked third. He’s a moose, but no I don’t see him as a top five pick. Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson ranked second.

The surprising leader? Providence guard Kris Dunn.

8. D’Angelo Russell, Have You Met Kobe Bryant?

Former Central High School star D’Angelo Russell has already committed his first turnover as the Lakers’ point guard. (Story link.)

Dabo Swinney does not control Russell’s Twitter account so the Lakers’ rookie tapped out a Tweet last week that said this: “Honestly, Tracy McGrady might have been the GOAT.”

GOAT, not as in Billy. GOAT as in Greatest of All Time.

I’m not sure Tracy McGrady was the greatest Toronto Raptor of all time, especially during the playoffs.

But for a Laker to name McGrady?

Magic Johnson? Maybe.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Perhaps.

Kobe Bryant? At least one Laker believes so. Bryant, Russell’s new teammate, tapped out a tweet (emoji included) in response. Here is the link.

Within six minutes, Russell had taken a recount, tweeting this: @kobebryant lol my bad he was nice though.

9. Steve Spurrier QB Issues – Again

Steve Spurrier has won plenty of football games at South Carolina. He’s made the Gamecocks relevant in the SEC East. Spurrier remains a quote machine.

But here is one thing Spurrier has not done in Columbia: Recruit, develop and then send a prime-time quarterback off to the NFL.

Hasn’t happened. (Story link.)

It’s apparently still not happening. Word from South Carolina over the weekend was that Spurrier was not pleased with any of the four contenders for the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback spot.

“We didn’t have a ‘best’ quarterback,” Spurrier said after a scrimmage. “You see any best ones?”

Who cares about the South Carolina quarterback situation?

Kentucky does. South Carolina opens against North Carolina Sept. 3. Then Kentucky visits Columbia on Sept. 12 for a 7:30 p.m. game. The Wildcats, remember, beat South Carolina, 45-38, last season.

10.  Poll Results

Last week’s question focused on the U of L basketball team before the Cards started playing games in Puerto Rico. I asked which player was most likely to join Damion Lee and Trey Lewis in the Cards’ starting lineup. Your selections:

1. Quentin Snider, 32.3 percent.

2. Mangok Mathiang, 29.1.

3. Chinanu Onuaku, 16.1.

4. Donovan Mitchell, 12.9.

5. Jaylen Johnson, 5.

6. Deng Adel, 2.8.

7. Ray Spalding, 1.2.

8. Other, 0.6

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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