February 23, 2010
• Give Ackbar a chance. Aspiring Ole Miss mascot Admiral Ackbar of Star Wars' Rebel Alliance has taken up residence outside the student union to urge students to vote "Yes" on today's mascot measure (and, of course, to remind them where LSU can go). But as the school paper points out, the only question on the ballot is whether students will have a voice in the process when the university moves ahead in its efforts to replace the ever controversial Colonel Reb at some point down the road. It will be ages still before Ackbar or any other options are submitted to actually represent the Rebels on the field. [Friends of the Program, Daily Mississippian]
• No more Mr. Nice Chip. With his critics circling low overhead, Oregon coach Chip Kelly pulled out the big guns Monday, suspending linebacker Kiko Alonso for the entire season in the wake of the redshirt freshman's drunk driving arrest early Saturday morning -- just hours after Kelly put his foot down in response to a series of legal problems over the last month. You may recall that Kelly's last season-long suspension didn't quite hold up, but considering most coaches would stop at a spring practice ban for a DUI, putting a kid on ice for an entire year is no joke. [The Oregonian]
• Troopers for Leavitt. While his attorneys met with university officials for six hours of mediation talks Monday, disgruntled ex-South Florida coach Jim Leavitt found another defender in Florida Highway Patrol trooper Benny Perez, who was reportedly in the locker room when Leavitt allegedly grabbed and slapped a player last November and testified during the university's subsequent investigation that the coach did no such thing. Perez would be the third adult witness to back Leavitt's version of events, along with the parent of another player and the team's strength coach. St. Petersburg Times, CBS Sportsline]
• Can't a pirate relax a little? Another coach fired for alleged player abuse over the winter, former Texas Tech boss Mike Leach, gave his first radio interview since being run out of Lubbock to WQAM in Miami, which learned that the good Cap'n hasn't been able to kill time as efficiently as he'd hoped since moving to Key West: "[W]hen I came down here I hooked up the TV thinking I was going to watch some of that. I brought a bunch of books planning to read all of those and I haven’t done hardly any reading and no TV watching. The phones rang a lot from people in all different directions ... The news haven’t worn off down here and I haven't had time to do any of that make sure you didn't get bored stuff." [SRI.com]
Quickly ... Attendance was slightly down across the nation after three straight record-breaking seasons, but way up at Mississippi State thanks to new coach Dan Mullen and a crowd-pleasing home schedule that included Florida, Alabama, LSU, Georgia Tech and rival Ole Miss. ... Rich Rodriguez says Michigan will be playing with a chip on its shoulder this fall, and "to hell" with the haters. ... Receiver Andrew Harris, a former four-star recruit, is transferring from Ole Miss, apparently in search of more playing time. ... Meet Oregon's latest quarterback recruit, via viral video. ... And in this time of personal turmoil, at least dismissed Duck receiver Jamere Holland knows the Russians have his back.