THE BRANCH — One of the fun parts of being a sports writer is coming up with nicknames.
Had a youth league player who decided that it was his day — finally — to go ahead and use those shoulder pads and tackle somebody like we’d taught him. He was dubbed the “Hitman.” Don’t believe that he’s hit anybody since, but the lovely little kid is still called the “Hitman.”
I think we’d have to call him a coverage linebacker.
Since nobody is kicking around the Falcons offensive line after last season, they are perhaps worthy of their
very own nickname. When you pave the way for a 1,700-yard back, cut your sack totals in half (darn it, got to look up a stat) — cut your sack totals by 30 (from 47 to 17) — and kick sand in the face of weakling defenses, then you need a nickname.
This one came to me last night. Back in the day, O.J. Simpson was called the Juice — back when he was just known for his football playing — and his line was the “Electric Company.” They turned on the juice, the electricity. Get it?
Well the Falcons running back is Michael “The Burner” Turner, so his guys up front are henceforth and forever more now known as “The Burn Unit.”
Maybe a little corny, but that’s Ok. Corny works in the nickname game.
We’ll have to see if center Todd McClure buys in. If he’s in, he’ll sell to the rest of the Burn Unit.
FOUR THINGS TODD McCLURE HAS IN HIS DORM ROOM TO HELP HIM GET THROUGH TRAINING CAMP:
1. I brought my flat screen that Mike (Turner) and Matt (Ryan) brought for us at the end of the season last year.
2. My cell phone so I can talk to my wife and kids. That helps you keep your mind off of camp.
3. I guess my anti-inflammatories.
4. Then the guys. The three guys in my room. We just hang once we get out of meetings. We just get a few laughs in. That makes camp fun. (Tyson Clabo, Brett Romberg and Harvey Dahl are McClure’s roomies.)
LADY GAGA FOREVER: One of the tunes they blare out of the speakers while the fans are walking up to practice in the morning is Let’s Dance by Lady Gaga.
Better get out to practice.
(NOTE TO THE BLOGGERS: Oh yeah, by the way. I need to remind some folks that this is a football blog. A Falcons football blog. We don’t need to talk about players who no longer play here. Politicians or radio hosts. Let’s keep focused on the Falcons and football. My training camp routine is falling back into place and will be stopping by more often to keep those zany folks from interrupting our ramp up to the season. Moderation is a good thing. –DOL)