A little basketball break was in order.
Been zipping back and forth to Macon and to see Whitefield Academy claim its second Class A boys state title. Hats off to AD John East and coach Tyrone Johnson and the rest of his staff. (Full disclosure: one of the Ledbetter girls cheers for the J.V. squad. Got to support the Wolfpack.)
Also, had to watch some of the conference tournament games to get ready for the Big Dance.
While I was off getting my basketball fix, the Falcons and tight end L.J. Smith were still square dancing at the Free Agency Ball. But the waltz appears over, according to a source close to the negotiations. Smith’s lack of blocking ability isn’t a scheme fit for the run happy Falcons.
The dancing is finally over and in the words of Beyonce Knowles they are not going to be putting a ring on this once blooming marriage.
Smith’s options were down to Detroit and Atlanta. It seemed like the Falcons would easily be the winner. But Smith dragged his feet and the Falcons had a change of heart. In the end, they are a running team and Smith doesn’t block. That’s what football teams call “a bad scheme fit.”
Now, as far as the Falcons are concerned, they could have put a “Waffle House – Pancake” clause in Smith’s contract.
A little incentive clause for pancake blocks could have been a good motivator for Smith. They could have started at $200,000 after five pancakes and another $350,000 after 10 pancakes and so on.
That way Smith would have had added incentive to block and the Falcons offense would not have suffered when he was in the game.
In an ideal world, you need the tight end to block and catch. Maybe the Falcons could have made Smith go with offensive line coach Paul Boudreau and his assistant Paul Dunn during mini-camps. Those two could have got him re-dedicated to the blocking game.
LET’S JUMP AROUND A LITTLE BIT
MILLOY UPDATE: Former safety Lawyer Milloy has been in some initial talks with teams, according to his agent Todd France.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Falcons were represented at West Virginia’s pro day last week. Quarterback Pat White attracted most of the attention, but linebacker Mortty Ivy was of some interest.
He’s a smart kid, who played quarterback in high school. He helped himself by running a faster 40 time than the 4.88 he ran at the scouting combine. He’s 6-foot-1, 248-pounds and played weakside at West Virginia. Some consider him a strongside linebacker in the NFL.
A couple of key pro day stops for the Falcons this week are Pittsburgh on Tuesday and the University of Georgia on Thursday.
NCAA TOURNEY TIPS: Well it is March and what would the blog be without a tournament tip or two.
Take Cleveland State in the first round. They have a really nice point guard in Cedric Jackson. You must have a point guard to pull off a tournament shocker.
The Vikings were one of the tournament’s original Cinderella teams. Back in 1986 Ken “The Mouse” McFadden, Clinton Smith (the pride of Cleveland Audubon Junior High and John Adams High) and Clinton Ransey shocked the world when they upset Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. Big Ten purists insist that the Hoosiers haven’t been the same since and note that they had to go with JUCOs like Keith Smart to win the title in 1987. They have not won a title since.
My man Tom Crean will get the Hoosiers moving back in the right direction. Just hope he doesn’t start wearing red sweaters.
As a matter of fact, even with Mick Cronin still working on getting Cincinnati Bearcats turned around, the Buckeye state is flushed with five tournament teams: CSU, Ohio State, Dayton, Xavier and Akron. Only Xavier appears capable of a deep run, though.
QUARTERACK MARKET: The news out of Denver about the cat fight between head coach Josh Daniels and Jay Cutler is not good news for the Falcons.
That adds one more quarterback to the open market at a time when they are trying to shop the rights to Michael Vick.
There’s plenty of more hoops to watch this week. Thursday and Friday are the best to college basketball days of the year.
Fired up about the tournament? (Or are you a depressed Kentucky fan?) Since the Smith deal is not going down, what will the Falcons do for a pass catching tight end? We’ve got some time before the draft, but it’s looking like the Falcons will go heavy on defense – safety, cornerback and defensive tackle look like the top priorities. Who would you like to see them pick? Would the Waffle House Pancake clause have worked for Smith?