October 29, 2009
• There are ways of making you talk. Suspended Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant, officially done for the year as of Tuesday night for lying to the NCAA about his relationship with "mentor" Deion Sanders, was noncommittal about his immediate future Wednesday during his first public comments about the suspension. Presumably, he's going to wait for his appeal to return this season to be officially denied ("They might go my way, they may not") before making the inevitable announcement that he's skipping his senior season for the draft.
While even columnists who cover rival teams were chiding the NCAA's heavy hand against one of its biggest stars, though, we did get some insight into the Association's aggressive mindset, courtesy of Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio:
A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that the NCAA's motivation was simple -- deterrence.
Basically, the NCAA wants athletes falling within its jurisdiction to tell the truth when subject to questioning. Otherwise, the difficult process of investigating issues of eligibility becomes virtually impossible.
See: Bush, Reggie, whose no-snitchin' policy re: the investigation into alleged cash and prizes at USC has apparently stymied NCAA investigators for years. The Association doesn't have subpoena power, a potentially fatal limitation in a post-facto case like Bush's, but so help them, they will put you on the bench, Mumbles.
• Your brain on football ... ... sometimes looks like this:
While the NFL was getting raked over the coals by grandstanding Congresspersons for its failure to protect from or tend to persistent brain injuries among players, the State newspaper in South Carolina chronicled the fun side of concussions with Clemson tight end Michael Palmer, who got his bell rung on the above hit in the Tigers' overtime win at Miami:
Palmer, sidelined after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit early in the fourth quarter, repeatedly yelled for backup Dwayne Allen on the sideline. Allen couldn't decipher Palmer's motivational message when he found him.
Palmer does recall being in the training room, about to receive stitches in his left elbow for a separate injury, as the Tigers prepared for their game-winning touchdown. Palmer recognized the signal and called for receiver Jacoby Ford to make the play. When Ford did, Palmer hugged team physician Len Reeves and took off out the door.
"He was chasing after me, yelling after me," Palmer said. "I ran out of the tunnel and didn't have any socks or shoes on. The first guy I saw was Durell (Barry), and he looked at me like, "What are you doing?"
Having been in a huddle with a clearly concussed quarterback in high school, I can attest: To everyone else, the post-concussion fog can be pretty hilarious in the moment. It's a short step sideways from funny to frightening, though, and wherever that line is, Nebraska linebacker Blake Lawrence crossed it a ling time ago
Four concussions in 18 months is nothing to joke about. That’s why Lawrence, a junior on the Nebraska football team, won’t play again.
When a normally jovial, goofy player finds himself standing motionless, staring at the ground 10 yards in front of him, it’s time for some soul-searching.
I would say so, yes. Preserve your brain, kid.
• As long as he's not throwing chairs, we're OK. Indiana's initial bid for respectability has crashed hard after a 3-0 start, with four losses in the last five and a particularly wounding collapse last Saturday at Northwestern, where the Hoosiers led 28-3 in the second quarter en route to a 29-28 loss. The familiar spiral may have IU coach Bill Lynch on a direct path to the hot seat, but not if athletic director Fred Glass has anything to say about it:
IU Athletics Director Fred Glass confirmed today that football coach Bill Lynch will remain in his position as head coach of the IU football program at least until his contract expires in two years.
"I think contracts need to mean something again at Indiana University," Glass said. "He’s in the second year of a four-year contract … I hope that and really think that coach Lynch will be very successful."
Technically, 4-4 with a couple close losses two-thirds of the way into the season is "very successful" at Indiana, even if only one of those wins has come against another Big Ten team. It's not nearly as stunning, anyway, as the athletic director of that team, Illinois' Ron Guenther, going out of his way to assure Ron Zook's return in 2010 last weekend, even as the Illini were hurtling toward their fifth straight defeat. It's all relative: Next to 1-6 at Illinois, 4-4 at Indiana looks positively Lombardi-esque.
Quickly ...Sam Bradford's season-ending shoulder surgery went "as expected." ... Texas Tech will send out its third starting quarterback of the season, redshirt freshman Seth Doege, against Kansas. ... Backup running backs Andre Anderson and Caulton Ray are no longer on Michigan State's roster. ... Oregon officials will probably be meeting with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott around the Ducks' game with USC about LeGarrette Blount's pending reinstatement. ... Return of the Athens traffic nazis! Georgia lineman Vince Vance was popped on two misdemeanor traffic charges Wednesday morning. ... Terrelle Pryor gets more expert advice from a former Buckeye star: "Run more." ... A few Boston College players aren't happy with their teammates' decision to transfer in the middle of the year. ... Can we expect more unexpected quarterback sweeps from USC?. ... The addition of the Gator Bowl to the SEC's postseason lineup has the Liberty and Papajohns,com bowls jockeying for position for the best scraps. ... Florida great Danny Wuerffel will be working CBS' pregame show for the Gators' game with Georgia. ... Just like every team ever, both Gators and Dawgs are claiming "disrespect" as a motivator going into the Cocktail Party. ... Rich Rodriguez talks about cornerback Boubacar Cissoko's dismissal from Michigan. ... And at least a few locals refuse to chalk up last-place Illinois as a gimme for the Wolverines.