It’s Friday and, as always, the floor is open to you to discuss any topic. Here are five just to get the party started:
1. Memo to Masoli: Don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to explain. Just say you’re sorry. I confirmed this morning that troubled quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will visit the Ole Miss campus this weekend. Various media reports say he has already been accepted. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But based on the conversations I’ve had, I feel confident in saying that Masoli will be offered a chance to walk-on without a scholarship.
If you want a different perspective on Jeremiah Masoli, I would recommend this well-reported and well-written story by Michael McKnight of SI.com.
In the story Masoli makes the case that people need to look beyond what the police record says about him and to the human elements and the extenuating circumstances of his story. An AP story says that his parents have hired a PR firm and have created a website to help repair his image:
Here is my take on this. Based on McKnight’s story, there have been some things that have been widely reported about Masoli that have been incorrect. One, for example, was that he was involved in a series of strong-armed robberies as a juvenile. He was involved in only one and there is debate about the details that one. Those kinds of things need to be corrected.
But here in the South we’re not real big on long explanations and rationalizations about behavior. Once he has corrected the record and if he is admitted at Ole Miss, Jeremiah Masoli would be advised to say the following:
“I screwed up and I’m very sorry.”
“I am grateful for this opportunity.”
“I promise I won’t let you down.”
And that’s it. Then move on.
I remember that one of my daughter’s schools had only two rules for its students:
That’s all this young man needs to do.
2. Masoli’s presence could be a game changer in the SEC West: The debate on whether or not Ole Miss SHOULD bring in Masoli is not going to end. People will be split over whether or not the kid deserves another chance after getting kicked off the Oregon team. That’s an off the field issue I don’t think will ever be resolved unless he screws up again. Then opinion will turn against it.
But on the field this could be a significant development in the SEC West. The Ole Miss schedule is front loaded with four of the first five games at home and Tulane on the road. That should give Masoli a chance to learn the offense from starting quarterback Nathan Stanley and OC Dave Rader. Ole Miss then has an open date on Oct. 9 followed consecutive road games at Alabama and Arkansas. Then there is a home game with Auburn.
Ole Miss is not going to win the SEC West but with Masoli, an All Pac-10 quarterback, the Rebels could beat somebody in the second half of the season that they were not supposed to beat and decide who DOES win the division.
Ole Miss was picked to finish last in the SEC West during media days. I wonder what the vote would be now?
3. Bless Lane Kiffin. He just can’t help himself: Pat Haden begins his job as USC’s new athletic director on Aug. 3. The former Trojan quarterback and Rhodes Scholar has already thrown down the gaunlet to his coaches: There will be no cheating.
Lane Kiffin, the new head coach at USC, has not been accused of cheating–at least not yet. But he has managed get sued by the Tennessee Titans, who don’t appreciate the fact that Kiffin convinced running backs coach Kennedy Pola to break his contract and become the offensive coordinator for the Trojans. Titans coach Jeff Fisher–a USC grad by the way–is livid that Kiffin didn’t pick up the phone and ask for permission to speak to Pola, which is customary.
Kiffin, of course, never admitted to not following protocol. He just said that the suit was motivated by the fact that Fisher’s team happened to be located in Tennessee, where Mr. Kiffin is not particularly liked.
Haden has made it clear that USC is going to clean up its act. His hand-picked assistant, former teammate J.K. McKay, will be watching the football program and Kiffin. Should be interesting.
4. Bryce Brown is a sad story: When I went to see new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley in the Spring he made it very clear to me his feelings about running back Bryce Brown, considered to be the plum of Kiffin’s only recruiting class in Knoxville. If Brown could convince Dooley that he wanted to be a part of the Tennessee program and emotionally invest in it, there was a reasonable chance that he could come back.
But Brown never made that commitment. This week Jimmy Hyams of WIVK reported that Brown skipped his meeting with Dooley and announced, via text message, that he was leaving Tennessee.
I guess that says it all.
I feel sorry for the kid. He seemed to have some talent but when somebody says you’re the nation’s No. 1 recruit I guess you feel entitled to something.
It’s not the kid’s fault but the fact is Bryce Brown came to represent how Lane Kiffin wanted to run the football program at Tennessee. And it was not good. Dooley was hired to change that mindset. It’s best for both parties that the book is closed on this chapter.
5. The ACC media did Paul Johnson a favor: I saw a little twinkle the eye of the Georgia Tech coach after the media picked him to finish third in the ACC Coastal during the recent Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C. As a coach, you always wonder how to properly motivate a team that is coming off a championship. Now he can say to his guys: “See? We win the championship and they STILL don’t think you’re legit. They still think you’re a gimmick.”
That’s one of the things I like about Johnson. He loves it when people tell him that he can’t do something.
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