Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Morning Kick Returns

So what if the regular season is over; I can continue my one steady weekly column if I want to.

Plus I've got a few items of note to go over before I dig into my BCS championship preview.

-USC kicker Danelo found dead at the bottom of a cliff
Another day, another tragic story to come out of the football world, this time with no night club incident involved.

USC Trojans kicker Mario Danelo, a junior who had just kicked 2 field goals in USC's Rose Bowl victory over Michigan on New Years Day, was found dead on Sunday morning after an apparent fall of 120 feet from a cliff in his native San Pedro, Ca.

Danelo, 21, was the son of fomer NFL kickler Joe Danelo, and had no apparent enemies or any reason to want to kill himself.

Authorities believe the former walk-on who would go on to become a record-setting kicker for the Trojans, either slipped and fell from the steep drop, but have not ruled out suicide or foul play as of yet.

"You keep asking yourself the same question," USC assistant coach Sam Anno said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Why?"

And that's what footbal fans are asking themselves after yet another senseless tragedy befalls one of its players.

- Petrino bolts Louisville for Falcons head job
Technically he's not a lying cad like former Dolphin/current 'Bama head coach Nick Saban.

No, Bobby Petrino only said he wouldn't take another college coaching job, like West Virginia, Alabama or Auburn. Sure he rebuffed Oakland after the 2004 season, but we all know the Raiders are only a mediocre college team at best.

But after the Falcons canned headcase Jim Moron Jr immediately following a disappointing 7-9 season owner Arthur Blank backed up a Home Depot delivery truck with a 5-year, $24 million contract in it and dumped it on Petrino's doorstep.

So the innovator behind the Cardinals high-scoring offense leaves the 'Ville after a 12-1, Orange Bowl-winning season and takes his talents to the Georgia Dome, where his main priority will be to wring production out of talented-but-erratic quarterback Mike Vick; if anyone can get the most out of Vick it could be Petrino.

It's ironic because I just read an excellent article on Slate the other day about how the pros need to loosen things up and be more like the college game. Maybe this is the first step in that direction.

I just feel bad for guys like Jeff Brohm and Michael Bush, who were debating on whether or not to stay in school and then got blindsided by yet another coach in search of the "ultimate challenge" that is the NFL.

- College stars JaMarcus Russel, Calvin Johnson decide to go pro
Hey if the coaches are doing it why shouldn't the superstar kids who make them look good?

Georgia Tech junior wide receiver Calvin Johnson declared his intention to enter the NFL draft today, following suit of LSU's QB & Sugar Bowl MVP JaMarcus Russell. Both players figure to be picked high in the first round.

Russell shot up the short list to be the top quarterback selected after his mind-blowing performance in LSU's 41-14 Sugar Bowl pasting of the Fighting Overrateds. The enormous (6'6", 265) junior threw for 332 yards and 2 scores and ran for another and impressed NFL scouts with his ability to throw the long bomb with ease; Russell had 2 throws of 58 yards, one a gorgeous touchdown to Brandon Lafell to end the third.

With Al Davis and the Raiders in possession of the first pick the strong-armed beast might jump over Brady Quinn as the top player selected.

Johnson is a speedy, sure-handed receiver with jaw-dropping skills. His large frame (6'5", 235 lbs) combined with his quickness (4.40- 40) have scouts salivating over his talents. The junior won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver this year, amassing 1,202 yards on 76 receptions to go with 15 touchdowns. His play-making ability and one-handed catches helped earn him the nickname "Spiderman."

Interestingly the Raiders are also in line for his services thanks to the disaster that was the Randy Moss Experiment and the meltdown of Jerry Porter last year.

Either way it looks like Al & whoever is coaching in the Black Hole will be getting a decent building block and the chance to restore the motto "just win baby" to relevance.

Okay, enough minutiae. On to The Game.

No comments: