June 01, 2009
• We figured all he needed was a little, you know, motivation. As Tennessee's offense bottomed out and the season spun out of control, Vol quarterback Jonathan Crompton took the inevitable abuse lat fall like a man: By stoically keeping the death threats festering inside. The much-maligned junior kept his coaches and even his family in the dark about the severity of the backlash against him, but the terrible truth always comes out eventually:
Crompton said he received "a couple" of the threats, all via e-mail, as the Vols were struggling last fall.
For the most part, Crompton carried the weight of such extreme criticism alone. He chose not to go to his parents for fear they would worry.
Crompton's parents became aware of the severity of the situation when a package they had ordered had slanderous messages about their son written on the shipping box.
That bit of cruelty was just the most insulting of the more predictable pattern of whispers in class, prank phone calls, hecklers in the stands and the occasional confrontation of campus. The story takes the usual angle, towards optimism and rebirth under a new, "quarterback-friendly" regime, but that doesn't stop the same newspaper from wondering whether a potential JUCO prospect from California can compete for the job right away.
But take heart, Jonathan: If there's one thing the millennia of human interaction have taught us without question, it's that you're nobody in this world until someone has threatened to kill you. (Just ask Anthony Morelli.)
• Just a friendly 'hello.' Mike Locksley accepted his first head coaching job, at New Mexico, last December. Six months later, three months before his first game, he's already facing more heat in Albuquerque than Lane Kiffin could have possibly bargained for:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)—New Mexico football coach Mike Locksley, on the job less than six months, has been accused of sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation by a former administrative assistant.
Sylvia Lopez filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She worked under Locksley at the Lobos football office before transferring last month, then quit her university job May 15.
Krebs said the university has started an internal investigation, but wouldn’t disclose details.
That's as close as the AP gets to lurid gossip. Lobo athletic director Paul Krebs was duly supportive of his coach, calling Locksley "an outstanding individual" and reinforcing his "long-term" optimism about the new direction of the program. In lieu of further details, I'll add only this: From a non-H.R. perspective, at least, combining sexual harassment and age discrimination against the same employee seems like one incredible achievement in the annals of bad leadership.
• Go join musical theater, brother. Josh Smith is a fairly obscure name nationally, but his sudden departure from Colorado over the weekend is one of the biggest non-draft personnel hits suffered by any team this offseason -- probably second only to Herzlich;s unfortunate exit from B.C. Officially, Smith, the Buffs' runaway leader in all-purpose yards last year as a sophomore, is transferring to pursue a music degree not offered by CU.
Perhaps, um, castrato?
Smith -- reportedly bound for USC or Arizona State -- was the closest thing to a big-play guy on the moribund CU passing game the last two years, putting even more pressure on sophomore running backs Darrell Scott (Smith's nephew, which potentially makes the ex-blue chip a flight risk himself after a disappointing debut) and Rodney Stewart to keep the quarterbacks out of trouble. Also on his way out from Boulder is backup tight end Ryan Wallace, apparently destined for his old Kentucky home.
• I'm guessing the solo to "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love." Meanwhile, in addition to "stonewalling a major NCAA investigation" (more on which later today), add one more item to the list of things Pete Carroll has done that you never will:
Of course Pete Carroll can play keyboards. You think he's going to get shown up by some cat? Always compete!
Quickly ... Bill Stewart does something you've never done, too. ... Ron Zook has an "awsome" time at Saturday's Cubs game. ... Five-star, all-everything running back recruit Lache Seastrunk called out Nick Saban (sort of) during a visit to Auburn's "Big Cat Weekend," which ended with the Tigers investigating a pair of possible violations, including a clearly staged (and somewhat pre-publicized) rolling of Toomer's Corner. ... With running back Kevin Grady's status in flux, Michigan might add ex-Wolverine basketballer Kelvin Grady, a former high school running back/receiver standout who's already left the UM hoops team. ... Joe Paterno, millionaire. ... The newest Volunteers are backing up Lane Kiffin. ... Georgia safety John Knox is transferring to Georgia Military Academy for "academic reasons." ... Former starting quarterback Zack Asack, who lost his job due to a suspension as a sophomore in 2006, was permanently booted from Duke for, naturally, an "undisclosed violation of team policy." ... Iowa receiver Shane Prater is transferring to a nearby community college due to his inability to "cope ... with the party life" in Iowa City. ... Backup linebacker John Jones is transferring from Florida. Meanwhile, Urban Meyer is a big fan of Gator softball these days, and the Vikings already think Percy Harvin is pretty unique. Plus, the latest in Tebow fanaticism: Meet Tebow the Turtle. (Maybe he can get primo seats to a Magic game, too.) ... Former Nebraska receiver Terrence Nunn is getting another shot at the next level. ... And I'd say Mustache Wednesday just got booked solid for the rest of the offseason.