Nobody asked me but…..
1. RIP, Kenny McKinley. The first time Steve Spurrier saw Kenny McKinley he wondered to himself: “Are we actually recruiting this guy?” McKinley, a quarterback at South Cobb High School, was so skinny that a stiff breeze would blow him away, Spurrier told me. But on that visit to the South Carolina campus McKinley made it clear that he wanted to play for Spurrier. He had seen how Spurrier had taken another high school quarterback, Jacquez Green of Fort Valley, and turned him into a top flight receiver at Florida. McKinley turned out of be one of Spurrier’s favorites, breaking most of South Carolina’s receiving records. He was great player and a very good kid. It’s heartbreaking to think that someone that young would take his own life.
2. There are bad injuries. There are devastating injuries. And then there is Houston: Your heart has to go out to Case Keenum, the quarterback at Houston. Keenum is one of only two quarterbacks in Division I-A history (Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell is the other) to post consecutive seasons of passing for over 5,000 yards. With a little less than 5,000 this season Keenum would have broken the all-time record for passing yardage set by Hawaii’s Timmy Chang. Keenum tore his ACL against UCLA trying to make a tackle after an interception. He’s done for the year. Keenum’s backup, Cotton Turner, suffered a broken collar bone and he’s also out for the season. Houston, the favorite to win Conference USA, will now go with freshman quarterback Terrance Broadway.
3. Trent Richardson returning kickoffs. Now THAT’s scary: With everything Alabama has going for them it almost seems unfair that the Crimson Tide has Trent Richardson returning kickoffs. Richardson, the sophomore from Pensacola, ran for 144 yards against Penn State on Sept. 11 while Mark Ingram, the Heisman Trophy winner, sat out recovering from a knee injury. Ingram came back against Duke with 151 yards (on just nine carries) and so Richardson got to return kickoffs and took one 91 yards for a touchdown. Of course I wonder if Richardson should be returning kicks because of the possibility of injury. I’m not worried about RICHARDSON getting injured. I just think he might really hurt somebody when he gets up ahead of steam. Quality running backs returning kicks is not unprecedented. Remember that Clemson running back C.J. Spiller returned an NCAA record seven kickoffs for scores.
4. Kentucky would be wise to watch for the fake against Gators: Since Urban Meyer became Florida’s head coach, the Gators have faked eight punts. All eight of them have gone for first downs. Last week against Tennessee Florida’s Omarius Hines gained 36 yards on a fake punt to keep a drive alive. It turned the momentum of the game towards Florida, which won 31-17. “Sometimes when you’re struggling on offense you have to do something to jump start things,” Meyer said. Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech gets a lot of credit for special teams play and he should. But Meyer is one of the better special teams coaches I’ve seen in a long time.
5. You’d better keep your eye on TCU’s Andy Dalton: There are a lot of good quarterbacks in college football but I don’t think anybody is playing better right now than Dalton. The senior, TCU’s all-time winner with 32 victories as a starting quarterback (he passed the great Sammy Baugh on Sept. 4), completed 21 of 23 passes last Saturday in a 45-10 destruction of Baylor. Dalton started the game with 11 consecutive completions. On the season Dalton has completed 53 of 71 passes for a completion rate of 74.6 percent. TCU plays at SMU Friday night.
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Programming note: On today’s “Barnhart and Durham Show” we welcome N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien, PGA Tour star Davis Love III, and Gary Stokan, the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The fun starts at 10 a.m. on 790 The Zone. www.790thezone.com.