Monday, July 25, 2011

NFL Open For Business.

Andy should be all smiles as soon as tomorrow.
Also, this picture seems fake.

For those of you who missed the memo, the NFL did exactly what we should've expected them to do and got back to business at the last possible second before actual games would have to be missed. All of the doomsdayers - every media person ever - that predicted a shortened season look pretty dumb now, especially when you consider the entire fight was over lost revenue and missing games would, you know, be lost revenue. Now all that will be lost is the useless Hall of Fame game, which, to be honest, makes me think perhaps they should have these negotiations every year. I don't know all of the particulars of the deal, but I do know that the league will not have to have another one of these conversations for 10 years and all training camps now have the Wade Phillips "no hitting" rule. In all honesty, the only effect this has on me is that HBO has officially cancelled Hard Knocks this year, a true tragedy because we'll have to wait a full year to get another rousing scene like this one. Somewhere, Tony Dungy shakes his head.

So why is this relevant to SpitBlood, you ask? Mainly because the league has given permission to teams to begin business as soon as this evening which means cuts will be made and rookies will be signed. Presumably, within the next 24 hours, Andy Dalton, Marcus Cannon, Malcolm Williams, Colin Jones and Jeremy Kerley will be actual paid NFL stars, realizing a life long dream and, if you're Marcus Cannon, a lot more than that.

But we already knew those guys were eventually going to be locked down, so the real excitement will be to watch where Wayne Daniels, Jake Kirkpatrick, Jimmy Young and the rest of the unsigned class of 2011 will wind up. Training camps begin Wednesday so it's probably wishful thinking to suggest those guys will be there to open things up, but with an accelerated pace becoming all but necessary given the time frame of the lockout, we should know the future of those guys sooner than later.

Stay tuned to Spitblood for updates. Or ESPN. But really, Spitblood.

Monday Evening Albuquerque Quarterback

I didn't post anything about last night's Breaking Bad this morning, because I hadn't seen it yet. Does my hurrying home from work to watch it on DVR make it any better? I noticed a rather long discussion chain in my gmail inbox, so perhaps everyone else has had their fill of talking about it. But in keeping with attempting to have some regularly-scheduled content on Spit Blood, even if it's not TCU-related, here goes:

SpitBlood Scramble, part Deux.

I would've expressed a lot more Happy Gilmore-esque anger Saturday
if I actually believed I had golfing ability of any substance.

Despite the soaring temperatures, alleged foreclosure status of the golf course and jarring lack of pro-narcotic cart hostesses, the second Annual Spitblood Scramble was a rousing success. With a reported 85 entrants this year, last year's record number of 49 was easily bested which means more dough for the Purple People Seaters. The official number hasn't been tallied, but at $100 a pop, that's $8500 before you take out overhead like the cost of prizes and whatever amount THEFINCH figures he can reasonably launder through his company without raising the eyebrows of the SEC and, more importantly, the SpitBlood Commentariat.

Superlatives-wise, with a so-low-it-cant-possibly-be-genuine score of 56, our winners were the team of Paxton Motherall, John Wynne, Todd Davenport and Hunter Harris. I know of a particular team that may have taken a few liberties on their scorecard and may have counted a few putts that may or may not have seen the bottom of the cup in real life, and they still only managed to shoot 6 under par, so whatever methods employed by our winners are doubly impressive. All jokes aside, that's an absolutely phenomenal score and, considering two members of said team were a part of last year's runner up squad, I think it's safe to say all of those guys knew their way around the green. And as several of their drives reportedly almost killed the group in front of them even when they were hitting their third shots, it's clear they're a friend of the long ball as well.

Coming up just short with a solid score of 58 was the team of Tate Nichols, Corey Leedy, John McNey and Taylor Nichols. I am sure the two Nichols' will hold their victory proudly over their older brother, especially as his entire team was seen wearing custom made "Champion" shirts before the round began, a pre-mature ejaculation of confidence if there ever was one. Northern Ireland may be the current Valhalla of golfing talent in the PGA ranks, but it looks like little Farwell, Texas may not be far behind.

Taking bronze with a score of 61 was the group comprising Ronny Dale Smith, David Greer, Ed Jones and Brian Garza. I am not personally familiar with any of those guys, so I don't have any personal anecdotes to offer up, but we should be proud of them nonetheless. Congratulations, guys and thanks for playing.

Quickly - the longest drive champion was Tyler Talman and the closest to the hole, Ben Peveto.

However, only one team can boast the honor of defending their title, and that would be the prestigious, tour-ready crew of Luke Wittenbraker, Anthony Diaz, Jeff Proctor and John Robert Wunderlick, who was filling in for the crippled Bryan Athon who, to his credit, helped coach his team to a blazing, dead-ass-last score of 71, walking boot and all. To be completely honest, this score doesn't seem THAT bad. I mean, yes, in a four man scramble with potentially 8 mulligans you should manage better than one under, but I kind of expected a John Daly-esque blow up to rule the day here. But still, those four guys came in boasting of their desires to reclaim their throne, and by god they did just that. Can they make it three next year? That alone should be worth the price of entry.

Spitblood warmly thanks everyone who came out to play this year and we hope to see you again next year. The money raised will certainly be valuable to the Purple Seaters who not only give under priviliged children the opportunity to escape their daily lives a few Saturdays a year at a TCU game, but also grow the next generation of Horned Frog fans. I am sure most other schools in the country have groups similar to PPS, but I have a feeling its not quite as popular in Ames, IA as it is in Fort Worth. Lucky, lucky kids.

As for my take on the tournament, few times a year can a married guy like myself spend an afternoon hopped up on prescription amphetamines, drink free beer, swill actual viking mead, and smoke cigarettes with a frequency that would make Fort Worth's most famous aficionado of chemically enhanced tobacco products Ben Hogan turn over in his grave, and for that alone I would call the day a success. Whitestone Golf Club has been a great host these past two years and I hope we are able to keep them as a permanent host for the near future. Who knows - perhaps our annual hedonism fest on the links can turn Benbrook into the next Augusta, Georgia? Only time will tell. See you all next year.

Taking Inventory: Linebackers

I feel like writing this post about the TCU linebacking corps might be a waste of time, because even the most casual fans know that anyone that climbs to the top of the depth chart and grabs one of the precious two starting LB spots in the 4-2-5 is going to be a baller. Seriously, I dare you to name a Horned Frog linebacker under Patterson that wasn't completely, utterly, disgustingly good. Bayer, McDonald, Goolsby, (Martin) Patterson, Hawthorne, Phillips, Henson, Washington...the list goes on and on. The point I'm making is- there are no question marks at linebacker for TCU, only exclamation points.

Making matters even better is that both of last year's starters, senior Tank Carder and junior Tanner Brock, both return for 2011. What'd they do in 2010? Oh, Brock just led the team with 104 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. And all Tank did was notch 60 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, a fumble recovery and five pass break-ups...including the one that saved the Rose which he had the most insanely dominant individual defensive performance in a TCU bowl game since Stephen Hodge in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.

Backing them up will be senior Kris Gardner and junior Kenny Cain, both of whom played in all 13 games last year. Both of these guys excelled on special teams, and would likely start for a majority of Division I teams. Two other returning lettermen that will push for playing time while also serving on special teams are the head-hunting junior Greg Burks and walk-on junior David Stoltzman, who was the team's Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year last year and has played in four games over the past two seasons.

The future also looks bright at linebacker, with a plethora of true & redshirt freshmen who are waiting for their turn to shine. Marcus Mallet, who had scholarship offers from SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten schools, is likely chomping at the bit after being redshirted last year. Deryck Gildon looks like the most likely of the true freshmen to play this fall after enrolling in January and impressing coaches during the springs- and fans at the spring game, when he scored a touchdown on an interception return. Austin Terry and Laderice Sanders joined the program this summer and both have the athleticism to excel at linebacker...and the size to perhaps move to the defensive line.

Let's hear your thoughts on the linebacking corps in the comments section. Can Tanner & Tank top their ridiculous 2010 stats? Who else really makes their presence felt this fall? Who are the next stars at linebacker?

Morning Dump