Tag Archive | "Ole Miss"

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A Tale of Two Johns: Like Cooper Had to Beat Michigan, Harbaugh Has to Beat Steelers

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

2-5 isn’t quite 2-10-1.

That being said, 2-5 might not be a totally fair representation.

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh has learned a tough lesson this week following his team’s heartbreaking 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday.

In Baltimore-much like in Columbus, Ohio-fans simply won’t accept rivalry losses.

John Cooper was a tremendous college football coach. During a head coaching career at Tulsa, Arizona State, and Ohio State that spanned from 1977-2000; Cooper posted a 192-84-6 record and tallied nine conference championships.

Cooper was the head coach of the Buckeyes from 1988-2000. He went 111-43-4 during that span, claiming three Big Ten titles. Cooper guided the Buckeyes to bowl appearances in 11 of his 13 seasons and finished with a losing record only once-his first season in Columbus. Cooper counted wins in both the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl during his time as the Buckeyes’ head man, and played in bowl games on New Year’s Day or later an impressive nine times.

Cooper had incredible success as the Head Coach at Ohio State. The type of success that might have earned him the right to determine his own fate. “Might have” if not for one glaring problem.


As head man in Columbus, Cooper’s Buckeyes posted just a 2-10-1 record against the Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State’s biggest rival.

It wasn’t just that Cooper’s teams struggled in their regular season finale against the opponent alumni and fans despised the most. The bigger problem was that Ohio State’s battles with Michigan regularly determined the final outcome for the Buckeyes’ season.

In 1993, Ohio State entered the Michigan game with a 9-0-1 record, but a 28-0 loss in Ann Arbor cost them an outright conference title. In 1995, Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George lead the Buckeyes back to Ann Arbor with an undefeated record and national title dreams. After a 31-23 defeat, the Buckeyes were sent to the Citrus Bowl instead.

1996 provided the greatest heartbreak for the Buckeyes in the John Cooper era, as they entered the Michigan game again undefeated and ranked #2 in the country. The Buckeyes had a 9-0 lead at halftime against Lloyd Carr’s Wolverines, but ultimately fell 13-9 at home.

OSU would eventually win another game against Michigan under Cooper in 1998, but they never posted back to back wins in the series under his guide. Cooper was fired following an 8-4 campaign in 2000. While academic and off-field troubles surrounding the program played a role in his firing, his record against Michigan ultimately played a major role.

In fact, when new coach Jim Tressel took over in Columbus he made a point to put special emphasis on the Michigan rivalry. After the former Youngstown State head coach was hired by the Buckeyes, he made a memorable halftime speech at a Ohio State-Michigan basketball game, according to ESPN.com…

“I can assure you that you will be proud of our young people, in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the football field.”

Following Sunday’s loss, Harbaugh now holds a 2-5 record against the Ravens’ heated AFC North rivals, including the 2009 AFC Championship Game.

(Every Ravens fan knows that both of Harbaugh’s wins in the rivalry came in games where Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was not on the field. That’s why the 2-5 record may not be such a fair representation.)

In 2008, Harbaugh’s second loss to the Steelers cost the Ravens a shot at the division title and forced them to hit the road in the playoffs. After a hard fought divisional round win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, the Ravens appeared flat when they hit the field for the conference title game at Heinz Field. Harbaugh’s third loss to the Steelers cost the Ravens a trip to Tampa Bay to face the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

(Harbaugh’s first loss to the Steelers-a Week 4 Monday Night Football defeat early in 2008-was also a loss that could have earned the Ravens home field advantage had they won the game. Week 4 losses just don’t tend to be quite as agonizing as losses in Week 15.)

Harbaugh’s fourth loss to the Steelers wasn’t quite as crushing. Despite losing in the Steel City in late 2009, the Ravens held on to earn a Wild Card playoff berth via a tiebreaker after the teams finished with matching 9-7 records.

Harbaugh’s fifth loss in the series shapes up to be as crushing if not more than any of the others. Had the Ravens held on for a Week 13 win over the Steelers, they would have controlled their own destiny (and actually held a one game margin of error) to win the division, receive a first round bye and host a playoff game in the divisional round.

The Ravens were a home win over the Steelers away from having a significantly clearer path to Dallas and a chance to again play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season.

We know now that the path isn’t so clear.

Had Sunday’s loss been to the Cincinnati Bengals or Cleveland Browns, it would have been difficult for fans to stomach. Sunday’s loss was particularly costly, and it would have left a dark cloud hanging over Charm City no matter who the opponent had been.

Yet because it was a rivalry loss, because it was the Steelers, there is simply no doubt that the black cloud left by the defeat remains darker than anything that came from fires on The Block or in Mt. Vernon.

(As an aside, does anyone see symbolism in the fact that the city has dealt with multiple REAL black clouds after a Steelers loss?)

The fact is, this fanbase CANNOT stomach losses to the Steelers, especially not losses of such magnitude. Losses hurt, but losses to the Steelers are absolute gut punches.

As Drew Forrester and I opined last week on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, this city doesn’t look at a Ravens loss to the Steelers as a NFL loss. The city tends to look at such losses as a loss to the city of Pittsburgh in general. There’s a natural feeling that it wasn’t a football team that won on Sunday night, but instead the entire Western Pennsylvania area.

It leads to frustration, pain and anger. As I wrote immediately following Sunday night’s game, the ability for fans to be rational goes completely out the window after a loss to the Steelers.

Harbaugh found that out Tuesday night during his radio show on WBAL.

A caller to the show questioned Harbaugh on the job status of DL Coach Clarence Brooks, one of the more respected assistants on the Ravens’ staff.

Harbaugh didn’t handle the question well, chiming back “Clarence Brooks does a great job. We will fight our tails off. If that’s not enough, then find another team to root for” according to the National Football Post.

It wasn’t the only time Harbaugh lost his cool during the show. Again according to NFP, Harbaugh also explained at one point: “if you’re not proud of this football team, then you don’t know football.”

Harbaugh probably didn’t handle the questions the best way he could have. There’s no doubt that his frustration reflected poorly with the fans who were listening, even if his answers were fair.

But the problem wasn’t the response. The problem was the result.

Ravens fans are NEVER going to be accepting of losses to the Steelers.

When the Ravens lose to the Steelers, the fanbase is going to respond poorly. This won’t be the last time a John Harbaugh-coached Ravens team plays the Steelers with major AFC North or overall playoff ramifications. In fact, the majority of the games the two teams will play against each other will be played with a lot on the line.

While college football and the NFL aren’t similar in many ways, this is an area where the rivalry is much like Ohio State-Michigan.

It isn’t just a rivalry because the two teams (or fanbases) don’t like each other. Ole Miss and Mississippi State don’t like each other, but their games rarely mean much of anything in the SEC. Ravens-Steelers games regularly mean a lot in the AFC.

The comparison is something John Harbaugh should really understand. John went to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. His father (Jack Harbaugh) was an assistant under Bo Schembechler at Michigan. His brother (Jim Harbaugh) was a quarterback for the Maize and Blue. (Jim’s teams were 3-1 against Ohio State.) Ohio State-Michigan is in John Harbaugh’s blood.

In that way, Harbaugh probably understands well what happened to Cooper at Ohio State. Hopefully that understanding can be transcendent.

If John Harbaugh is going to succeed as the Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens, he is going to HAVE to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There’s just no getting around that.

Harbaugh is not in jeopardy of being run out of town like Cooper was at Ohio State.

I repeat, Harbaugh’s job is NOT in jeopardy. Certainly not at this point anyway.

But if he’s going to succeed here long-term, he’s going to HAVE to beat the Steelers. If not, a few annoying calls to a radio show will turn into general discontent, and eventually a much more vitriolic fanbase.

That’s what happened to Cooper in Columbus.

Harbaugh doesn’t have to win EVERY game against the Steelers. Since taking over at Ohio State, Tressel has gone 9-1 against the rival Wolverines, which isn’t a realistic expectation for Harbaugh against the Steelers.

But he has to start winning SOME meaningful games against the Steelers, or the Ravens won’t accomplish the things they need to for Harbaugh to be successful as a Head Coach.

And if 2-5 is a pace that continues for Harbaugh against the Steelers, Harbaugh’s story will likely have a similar ending as Cooper’s.


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Posted on 12 September 2010 by Erich Hawbaker

This is a tirade that I’ve been meaning to go on for awhile now. And after watching Penn State get smacked around tonight and seeing this on ESPN’s webpage, I’ve decided to do it. Political correctness has once again reared its ugly head in the world of sports. This time, the victim is the mascot of the Ole Miss Rebels, Colonel Reb.

The character of Colonel Reb is actually based on a real person; a man named “Blind Jim” Ivy, who was peanut vendor in Oxford and a fixture at Ole Miss sporting events for over 50 years. The son of a former slave, Ivy was beloved by the student body and the community alike until he died in 1955 (seven years before segregation came to an end). The cartoon version of Colonel Reb, which is still being used today, was created in the 1930s, about the same time the school’s athletic teams were renamed the Rebels (they had previously been called “the Flood”). Although Caucasian, the caricature very much resembles Ivy’s goatee, hair, and face. But obviously, what he’s supposed to be is an old southern plantation owner, complete with walking stick, long-tailed suit, and string tie.

The administration of Ole Miss finally banned Colonel Reb from appearing on-field at sporting events in 2003, caving to accusations of him representing the south’s history of slavery and racism. A vote among the students was held to select a new mascot, which failed miserably, because, according to some, keeping Colonel Reb was not one of the choices and unofficial polls found that as many as 94% of the student body wanted him to stay.

It was from this Charlie Foxtrot that the idea of selecting Admiral Ackbar first came to light. For the Star Wars illiterate readers (including you Todd), Admiral Ackbar is of the species Mon Calamari from the watery planet of the same name. He was the leader of the Rebel Alliance’s attack on the second Death Star in Return Of The Jedi, in which he uttered his most famous line “It’s a trap!” He has brown skin and yellow eyes, and sort of resembles a catfish.

Some say that electing Ackbar would allow Ole Miss have a ‘rebel’ leader again for their mascot without anybody being able to cry racism. Others got behind it out of spite, choosing the most ridiculous thing in hopes of illustrating just how stupid this whole controversy is. Unfortunately for both groups, Lucasfilm has apparently declined to allow Ole Miss to use their copyrighted character. And while the proud Star Wars nerd in me thinks it would be hilarious, I would put myself in the latter category. There is no good reason for Colonel Reb not to be Ole Miss’s mascot if the student body wishes him to be it.

As my grandfather used to say, “When you try to please everybody you’ll end up pleasing nobody.” I went thru a somewhat similar situation in my college days at Shippensburg. There had been calls for Ship to drop the Red from Red Raiders because of the implied reference to American Indians. Ship resisted, and has instead tried to portray us as pirate-y raiders as opposed to Indian-y ones. Now, Ship had never had an on-field mascot that I know of, and when they opened it up to suggestions, a few of my marching band buddies and I put forth the idea of the Shippopotamus, or Shippo Hippo. It was far better than the alternative of this dumb-looking red pirate parrot, it was versatile in that it could be either cute or mean, plus our fight song is called “The Horse” and hippopotamus is actually Greek for ‘water horse’. When it was put to a campus vote, Shippo won; but the administration went with the bird anyway. So what we ultimately got was “Big Red, the red-tailed Raider Hawk”. But what really made the excrement hit the fan was that at the exact same time, our archnemesis, IUP, ceased to be the Indians under the same pressures and became the Crimson Hawks. So now, the Steelers and Ravens of the PSAC have almost identical mascots. Isn’t that lovely?

My question is simply “Where does it end?” Although it can be well-meaning, political correctness in practice usually amounts to a small group of self-appointed, self-righteous bullies imposing their will in situations that are none of their business. Our Constitution grants everyone the right to free speech and free expression, but it doesn’t grant anyone the right not to be offended. If Colonel Reb or the Shippensburg Red Raiders or the Florida State Seminoles offend you, go to college somewhere else. If the Washington Redskins or Cleveland Indians or St Louis Rams partly owned by Rush Limbaugh offend you, don’t buy a ticket.

And furthermore, who gets to decide exactly what is offensive? If the color red is offensive to American Indians, could the half dozen or so golden things Ship plays every year be offensive to Asian people? (I’m not making that up. Within Pennsylvania Division II football, we have Golden Eagles, Golden Bears, Golden Rams, and Golden Knights.) Might the Milwaukee Brewers be offensive to Mothers Against Drunk Driving? Or are the San Diego Padres offensive to atheists? How about the Tampa Bay Rays offending the family of Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter? Now, I’m illustrating absurdity by being absurd, but I’m also making two points. First, if you think about it hard enough, you can find a reason for anything to be offensive to somebody. And secondly, in nearly all instances, team names and the mascots that go with them are some reflection of that city’s history and culture, not a means of degrading or insulting any race, ethnicity, or whatever.

If I were in charge at Ole Miss, I would politely tell the NCAA and NAACP and anybody else who complained about Colonel Reb that we would be more than happy to do away with him and all other references to the Civil War the day after that baseball team up in New York ceased to be the Yankees. After all, Yankees killed thousands and thousands of Mississippians in the Civil War, and it’s a painful memory for us too.

Unfortunately, Emperor Steinbrenner’s star cruisers can repel firepower of that magnitude.

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Following a convincing win over the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens have just one more preseason contest to solve the final spots on their 53 man roster.

They’ll play the St. Louis Rams Thursday night at Edward Jones Dome, and a number of players will be hoping it isn’t the final time they don the purple  & black. The team will be forced to trim the roster to 53 players this Saturday.

There have been a few changes to the roster since my last “Mocking the 53” update; with CB Doug Dutch cut and both OL Daniel Sanders and CB Marcus Paschal placed on IR. I am also going to move Cary Williams OFF the 53 (he will receive an asterisk following the 53) since he will be roster exempt during the two weeks he’s suspended. He’s on the roster, but the cuts Saturday won’t reflect that. Finally, Donte’ Stallworth moves back to the 53rd spot on the roster. He’s not the 53rd best player on the team, but since he can’t participate I won’t continue to lift him.

As a reminder of my overall philosophy in selecting these players, here is the explanation I posted before my initial mock roster…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, here’s how I see the Top 53 shaping up…

(Thanks to The Sun and BaltimoreRavens.com for photos.)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. OT Michael Oher
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

Only a few small changes to the Top 10, as I dropped Michael Oher a couple of spots. The 2nd year tackle from Ole Miss is still VERY important to this football team, and I wouldn’t be stunned at all if his 2nd season ended in a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. But he HAS struggled during the preseason, and this is simply a reflection of that. Otherwise, the top players on the team remain exactly the same.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. DE Trevor Pryce
13. DL Cory Redding
14. CB Fabian Washington
15. FB Le’Ron McClain
16. OL Marshal Yanda
17. C Matt Birk
18. S Dawan Landry
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Just a couple of tweeks in this group as well. Todd Heap moves up a couple spots after his sensational performance Saturday night against the G-Men. On the flip side, Terrence Cody falls a few spots due to the knee injury that forced him to miss Saturday night and has forced him to miss about a week’s worth of practice. I still think “Mount Cody” is going to end up being VERY good, but he hasn’t been very good recently.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. P Sam Koch
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. DT Kelly Gregg
25. S Haruki Nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. TE Ed Dickson
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. OT Jared Gaither

A few movers in this group as well, including a significant move from Sam Koch. He’s looking like a real weapon for this team. His performance against the Washington Redskins would have garnered him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors if it had happened during the regular season, and he was exceptional again Saturday night against the Giants. He’s been very impressive to watch both during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster and in practices since then at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Jared Gaither falls a few spots as he continues to battle a back injury. At this point, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the field when the Ravens play the New York Jets Sept. 13 in East Rutherford to open the season. Kelly Gregg moves up a few spots, as his value to the team is heightened with Terrence Cody hurt.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. LB Jameel McClain
33. LB Dannell Ellerbe
34. LB Tavares Gooden
35. LB Antwan Barnes
36. OL Tony Moll
37. RB Jalen Parmele
38. TE Dennis Pitta
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. DT Brandon McKinney

And after the first 30 players on the roster, EVERYTHING IS TOUGH TO FIGURE OUT! Players 31-40 on this list will all make the roster, but they’ll likely fluctuate position as the season goes on.

In the never-ending saga of “As the JACK LB Turns”, the JACK LB position is turning. Sorta. Harbs said Monday that analysts shouldn’t look too much into the fact that Jameel McClain has started all three preseason games, as all three backers are likely to play roughly the same number of snaps. To some extent, I believe him. In three linebackers, the Ravens have about one complete linebacker. If only they could figure out a way to mold the three together. McClain stays ahead of the others due to the fact that he HAS been starting, but the separation he found from the others early in camp is pretty much non-existent at this point.

Tony Moll and Jalen Parmele are also risers in this group. Parmele because his job as kick returner solidifies his level of importance to the team. Moll because with Gaither and Cousins sidelined, he’s stepped in and held down the RT position admirably. In fact, he’s likely moved ahead of Cousins on the depth chart regardless of health. Should Gaither not be able to go on Monday Night Football to open the season, I would expect Moll to start regardless of health.

41. LS Morgan Cox
42. DT Kelly Talavou
43. OT Oniel Cousins
44. QB Troy Smith
45. CB Travis Fisher
46. S Ken Hamlin
47. K Shayne Graham
48. OL David Hale
49. WR Demetrius Williams
50. WR Marcus Smith
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. CB Prince Miller
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth*

Somewhere in this group my confidence level starts to decline a bit. I’m just not exactly sure where it is. Here’s what we know from 41-53.

At 41, Morgan Cox is the Long Snapper, he’s on the team.
At 42, Kelly Talavou appears to be ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens and comfortably on the roster. He made the roster last year, and the team has maintained faith in him.
At 43, Oniel Cousins is absolutely making the roster as long as he’s healthy. It seems as though he will be-but that’s no guarantee.
At 44, Troy Smith is the team’s 3rd quarterback. The only way he’d not be part of the 53 is if the team were to suddenly find a trade partner or decide for some reason that they don’t need to keep a 3rd quarterback. I find both to be unlikely.
At 45, Travis Fisher is on the team for now. I get the feeling that might not be the case when Cary Williams comes back.
At 46, Ken Hamlin looks like he’s safe until Ed Reed comes back. Of course, there’s a chance that will happen sooner than we thought.
At 47, I still believe Shayne Graham will win the kicking competition. However, I’ve moved him back significantly because there’s almost no difference between he and Billy Cundiff right now. If Cundiff wins, I can’t be surprised anymore. The organization had privately given the job to Graham weeks ago, but there are some factors that might have that job slipping from his grasp.
At 48, David Hale seems safe as long as he’s healthy. That’s a real question mark right now as he battles a tailbone injury. Hale had played well in Camp, and it looked like his improvement had been significant over 12 months.
At 49, Demetrius Williams moves back on the roster. The Ravens will likely want to keep a 4th receiver active with Stallworth hurt, and Williams has more experience than the others on the roster. His size also separates him from the others.
At 50, Marcus Smith is an outstanding Special Teams player. Given some of the players Jerry Rosburg’s unit is missing (including Brendon Ayanbadejo), his inclusion in the Final 53 would make almost too much sense.
At 51, I’m keeping Jason Phillips on the roster for now. Some would argue Prescott Burgess should have his spot, and he’ll have the chance to move ahead.
At 52, Donte’ Stallworth’s injury helps Prince Miller a lot. With Tom Zbikowski starting and Mark Clayton now a slot receiver (who is hurt), it is fair to expect Miller get the bulk of action at punt return this week. That could be enough to lock down a job.
At 53, Donte’ Stallworth holds a roster spot.

54. CB Cary Williams*
(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Potential PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

With Ed Reed now hanging around the facility in Owings Mills, those rumblings that he’ll avoid the PUP list will get louder. With Ed, it’s hard to ever really know. Otherwise, we can be sure Brendon Ayanbadejo will start the season on PUP-and it’s safe to assume that Matt Lawrence will be PUP at best.

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. LB Prescott Burgess
57. WR David Reed
58. LB Edgar Jones
59. DT Arthur Jones
60. DT Lamar Divens
61. OT Ramon Harewood
62. S/CB KJ Gerard
63. TE Davon Drew
64. OT Joe Reitz

Everyone between 55-64 has at least a CHANCE to make the final 53.

At 55, Billy Cundiff is neck and neck with Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. One of them will win.
At 56, Prescott Burgess can win a spot on the roster over the next week. His abilities on Special Teams will help him.
At 57, David Reed has played well recently-but hasn’t been outstanding for all of Camp. He’s not far from the roster, but the next week will be crucial for him.
At 58, Edgar Jones has plenty of versatility-but he hasn’t shown himself to be an exceptional OLB. Despite Sergio Kindle’s injury, he doesn’t look like he’s quite made the team yet.
At 59, Arthur Jones has a ton of upside. He also finds himself the victim of a numbers game. The Ravens might be concerned about exposing him, but it seems like he’s better suited for the practice squad.
At 60, Lamar Divens is in a very similar situation as Arthur Jones. The Ravens would hate to give up on a player that “looks like a Raven” the way Divens does, but he might not fit on the roster right now.
At 61, Ramon Harewood still looks like a very qualified candidate for IR given his knee issue just after the NFL Draft. Injuries to Gaither and Cousins could make him a roster option.
At 62, KJ Gerard has REALLY been hurt by not being on the field for stretches this preseason. The Ravens need secondary help, and he could provide it if he could stay healthy. This is a big week for him.
At 63, Davon Drew has played really well this summer. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to be room for a 4th Tight End on the roster.
At 64, Joe Reitz could end up making the roster given the same injuries to Gaither and Cousins. But if I was a betting man, my money wouldn’t be on him.

65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OL Bryan Mattison
71. OT Stefan Rodgers
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Harper and Riley really offer something to a practice squad given their size. When the Ravens are forced to go up against taller receivers, it will help to have taller receivers to match up against in practice. Others on this list look like solid practice squad options as well-of which Curtis Steele could be one of them.

Questions? Concerns? Song requests? Let me know. I’ll post my final Mocking The 53 Friday.


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Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy

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Sean Tuohy On His Family and Son Michael Oher: It Doesn’t Take A Movie To Change A Life

Posted on 26 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Sean Tuohy has had a great life, and because of that, he has made sure to look for opportunities to make the same impact on someone else.

He got drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school to play baseball, but instead chose to attend the University of Mississippi on a basketball scholarship. Playing at Ole Miss, he became only the fourth Rebel basketball player to make it to the school’s Hall of Fame. He then turned that career into a small stint overseas.

He was voted onto the All-SEC Century team, and led the conference in assists all four years he was at Ole Miss. And while he chose not to play in the NBA, he currently is a broadcaster for Westwood One and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

He owns a chain of over 70 restaurants, and has two kids with his college sweetheart, Leigh Anne.

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy

But recently, the Tuohy family was blessed with another addition to their family. And they are going to see if that blessing in their experience can reciprocate itself in other people’s lives.

And if the name sounds familiar, you probably heard of it before in passing. The Tuohy family is the adopted family of Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher.

Their story-along with Michael’s-was recently chronicled in the book, The Blind Side, and the movie with the same name. In the movie, Tim McGraw played the role of Sean and Sandra Bullock won the Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne.

It was Leigh Anne’s persistance that brought Oher, who at the time was basically homeless, into not only the Tuohy household, but an adopted member of the family.

“The whole thing started by my wife turning to me and telling me to turn around when we drove past Michael on the street,” Sean Tuohy told Rex Snider last week. “In a heartbeat, your life can change this quickly, and we feel like through the power and strength of cheerful giving, that it propels the giver way beyond.”

And it turned out Michael coming into their lives was more of a blessing to the Tuohy family than it was to Oher, at least to the head of the Tuohy household.

“Michael got a nice house, but he could have got that anywhere.  We as a family got to celebrate Christmas every day because we were able to give every day to someone that we loved.”

Now, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy are out promoting a book, In a Heartbeat, but this one is in their own words and right from the source.

Tuohy said that a lot of people could have lost the true message about Oher’s story by watching the movie or reading “The Blind Side”. They may see his rise to the NFL as the main focus, but the Tuohy family wanted to make it known that the true message that should be pulled from Michael’s story is the idea of generous giving and outreach.

“The smallest amount of generosity can change someone’s life. It’s about a relationship. When people talk about giving these days, its often too much centered about money. Now don’t get me wrong. Money is important, and a lot of these great organizations need it to survive. So if you’re writing checks, don’t stop cause I told you so.”

“We like to think that a life would have been changed a whole lot without a book and a movie, but now we feel the responsibility of trying to tell other people…it isn’t writing a big check. Leigh Ann puts it great. If we wrote a check for all the money we spent on Michael the last eight years, and gave it to him on that day, it wouldn’t have made a difference in his life. It’s a relationship and the caring and the love that made a difference. Michael became the person who he was supposed to come, and all we did was give him an avenue to do it.”

Tuohy challenges others to do the same, and not to do it for people who expect help or want it. Do it for complete strangers and that show of caring will be contagious.

“We don’t know the value, and we place value on people so incorrectly. And that’s what we challenge people to do. Stop, turn around, and try and change a life. You can do it. It doesn’t take a movie. Trust me.”

The Tuohys just want to use their family as an example to see how possible it is to take someone so low-and help to raise them-to a high level.

“I tell people that when we came upon Michael, he couldn’t have been any lower. And I don’t think he’s on any higher run than he is right now. And the important thing is what happens between. And its hard. Its a parental challenge every day, but we’re blessed with three great kids, and we wouldn’t change   this experience.”

What happened to Sean Tuohy and the rest of his family is what he calls “The Popcorn Theory“, in which you have a pot with kernels in it. The majority of them will pop, but when you look in the pot to see when its done, one kernel will hit you in the face.

“If a popcorn hits you in the face, don’t turn your back on it. Michael may have been the biggest popcorn ever. We confront things every day in our lives, and you’ll have one today where you’ll pass someone in the hallway and you’ll put a value on that person. I do it too. Everyone does it. And with that person, you don’t know. You don’t know if they have needs. What we tell people is if somebody or something hits you in the face like a piece of popcorn, grab it and make a difference in their lives.”

And of course the Tuohy’s made a difference on Oher. They took Oher into their home in 2004, and got him to a Division 1 school in Ole Miss, his adopted father’s school. During his four years there, he made freshmen All-American status, and All-SEC every year he lined up for the Rebels. This was capped off by a first-team All-SEC and All-American status his senior year, and he finished as an Outland Trophy finalist.

And last year, the Ravens traded up in the first round with the New England Patriots to draft Oher with the 23rd pick. The Tuohy family watched in anticipation for Oher, and they actually got a chance to properly thank Patriots owner Robert Kraft during the Ravens opening round playoff victory against New England.

“He was very nice, very generous, and of course I turned to him and said, ‘Hey, we should be thanking you’.”

He said, “Yeah, you make mistakes in this world.”

Sean said that Oher going to be the Ravens may have actually been the real blessing for Oher in return for lightening up the lives of the Tuohy family.

“We didn’t know anything about the Ravens before we got there, and we don’t get to look behind any curtains, but from the parent of a kid who plays on the team, we really do think-and that’s not by accident-that Michael’s probably at the best-maybe even all of professional sports-organizations. Our feeling that any organization that has Ozzie in it is a good one to be with.”

And despite the Ravens’ season ending last year shorter than expected, the Tuohys are still very proud of their son’s journey and his persistence and dedication to his family, his job, and his friends.

And Oher this year will return to protecting Joe Flacco’s blindside as Ravens open training camp today and veterans begin practice later this week. And to think, Leigh Anne almost didn’t want Michael Oher being athletic at all.

“My wife kept trying to talk Michael out of playing any sports, because we knew inevitably that would lead him away from the house,” Sean Tuohy laughed. “He knows what he’s doing right now is so precious, and it can be pulled away at any time.  Hes making the most of it, which we’re really proud of”

“And I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s been so successful. He realizes that he’s in a position that he doesn’t deserve to be, but he certainly is going to value where it is and because of that, he takes it very seriously. And he knows it’s his job. But he knows to us that he’s just our son, and he just happens to play football. But if he doesn’t play football, he doesn’t stop being our son.”

And as camp starts today and with the NBA taking a break for a moment, the Tuohys can concentrate on Ravens football for a time being. In fact, the whole schedule of the book had to fit in with this week because of that conflict with training camp.

“We didn’t start this book until late February. And my wife told the publisher, don’t go into this unless it can be finished July 13. And he said, ‘Why is that?’. She said ‘It gives me 15 days to get organized between the end of the book and Michael’s first practice of training camp’, so at least we still have our priorities right on our side.”

Tuohy normally does his job critiquing the Memphis Grizzlies for Westwood One and other outlets, but he right now thinks the Ravens are poised to go deep in the playoffs this year around.

“I think it’s going to be a big year for the Ravens,” he said.  “I love what they did.”

And actually even though he has been away from his broadcasting job with the Grizzlies, Sean Tuohy is eager to get back and talk with two former Maryland basketball stars about a number of topics, including the Ravens.

Those two being former Archbishop Spalding star Rudy Gay and the recently drafted Greivis Vasquez.

“He and I have more fun in the early  part of the NBA season cause we get to talk Ravens all the time,” Tuohy said of Gay, “and people look at us like we’re crazy in the middle of Memphis. He loves the Ravens now. He’ll be out at training camp every year. What a wonderful kid, and Baltimore needs to be proud of Rudy. He has embraced a wonderful job of giving back to the city of Memphis.”

And Tuohy said that Vasquez is a player that is right up their alley.

He’s a player that we needed desperately. We needed some energy. He’s done well in summer league. The speed has him a little bit, but he’ll catch up cause he’s a talented kid. I think they got a steal when they got him.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as Ravens news coverage will be at an all-time high. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Re-Group For Mini-Camp

Posted on 07 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

1:29-Some notes worth passing along from today’s media availability at 1 Winning Drive:

-Regarding the Oher move to LT, John Harbaugh said it would be permanent as long as it was the “best thing for the team.” He declined to discuss much about why the decision was made.

If Gaither is upset about the move, he did a good job of hiding it today. He said he was “fine with it”, and that he thought Oher “would do a good job” in the role. He declined to comment on how it might impact his future free agency; and said he didn’t think it had anything to do with him not being here for the first OTA’s. Gaither told us that the last time he played Right Tackle was his freshman year at Maryland.

-Harbaugh said that Mark Clayton is dealing with a SHOULDER issue, not a hamstring. I would have bet money it was the other thing.

-Ray Lewis wasn’t particularly interested in talking about any Super Bowl aspirations for the team, nor his own NFL future. Of course, it IS May.

-You can hear now from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco, Sergio Kindle and Donte’ Stallworth in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net!

11:52-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where I’ll try to keep things brief before joining Bob Haynie on AM1570 WNST in a few minutes.

A couple of notes worth passing on from Ravens practice this morning:

-The biggest story to come out of practice today will be the shift at Offensive Tackle. With Michael Oher taking every snap at LT and Jared Gaither every snap at RT, it is safe to assume that the Ravens are planning on making this a permanent move. It was expected that Oher would GET snaps at LT this weekend, but not that he would become the permanent fixture at the position. It makes sense given that Oher has been considered the team’s future LT since he was drafted out of Ole Miss, we just didn’t know the timetable would be this quick.

-S Ed Reed (hip) was not seen here. We didn’t expect to see him practice, but did not know if we would be in attendance. S Haruki Nakamura (fibula) is also not practicing.

-DT’s Kelly Gregg (shoulder) and Haloti Ngata (chest) are here, but were not working during practice. Terrence Cody and Kelly Talavou worked with the first team instead.

-CB’s Fabian Washington (knee) and Lardarius Webb (knee) were not practicing as expected. Both are question marks for the start of Training Camp. Chris Carr worked as the 2nd CB in his place.

-LB Jarret Johnson (shoulder) did some drills, but was by no means a full participant. Prescott Burgess appeared to get the bulk of the work in his place.

-WR Donte’ Stallworth appears to be third on the depth chart right now. However, Mark Clayton was not much of a participant; so it’s hard to gauge where he is on that list. I’m not aware of Clayton’s injury-but if I had to guess I’d probably say hamstring.

-TE Ed Dickson looks to be 2nd on the depth chart behind Todd Heap, with Dennis Pitta 3rd.

-The Ravens officially signed 9 Rookie Free Agents today:
WR Rodelin Anthony (UNLV)
LS Morgan Cox (Tennessee)
DL John Fletcher (Wyoming)
DB Ashton Hall (Marshall)
DE Albert McClellan (Marshall)
FB Mike McLaughlin (Boston College)
CB/KR Prince Miller (Georgia)
CB/KR Courtney Smith (Central Washington)
RB Curtis Steele (Memphis)

There are other players here on a tryout basis as well; although their jerseys are without names.

-We are expected to hear from John Harbaugh, Sergio Kindle, Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin around 12:30. I will update with more from them as soon as I can. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST).


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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 30 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because Shawn Michaels retired last night…and I won’t confirm nor deny whether I was a bit overly emotional…

…I’m sorry, I need a minute here.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Steelers event at North Harford High School ‘not okay’

Here’s a list of other things that are “not okay”…

4-Violent Crime

OF COURSE bringing the Pittsburgh Steelers to Harford County ISN’T OKAY! Anyone who thinks otherwise is INSANE!

(Edit from GMC: Attention Pittsburgh Steelers fans-your opinion doesn’t matter to me. We all KNOW you think it’s okay. It’s like the guy who roots for the Steelers and writes for that “b” paper that tried having an opinion on the Colts move out of Baltimore-it doesn’t MATTER what you think about it.)

As I said this morning, maybe next year the folks up at North Harford High School should consider renaming Pylesville Road to “Jeffrey Maier Boulevard” next spring.

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Guthrie roughed up as Orioles fell to Yankees

As I said last night on Twitter (follow us @WNST), do you think there’s any chance the Orioles could trade Jeremy Guthrie to the Diamondbacks in exchange for one of these FORMER Birds?

rodrigo krisbenson

‘Cause I’d take either Rodrigo Lopez OR Kris Benson from the D-Backs at this point!

Jeremy Guthrie has been….ummm….NOT GOOD. I don’t think he has a pedigree to think that he will just necessarily bounce bank and be a top of the rotation type of pitcher who we can count on.

But I’ll be hoping…

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Uehara expects to start season on DL

And that’s just too bad.

Since I don’t really have too much more to add here, I think I’m going to through up a few more pictures of Anna Benson. You can thank me later.


If only the O’s would have been any good when she was here…

4. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Guthrie, Matusz, Bergesen, Hernandez expected to be announced as rotation behind Millwood by Trembley today

Before I move on from the Orioles; Hall of Fame 3B Mike Schmidt joined Drew Forrester this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show.” If you missed it, make sure you head over to the Audio Vault at WNST.net to check it out. He told Drew Miguel Tejada would have “no problem” moving to third base.

Drew also chatted with Harford County Executive David Craig (who told us that Harford County was “Ravens Country”), Aegis columnist Randy McRoberts, Former Maryland Jockey Club President Joe DeFrancis, Former Ole Miss DE and Ravens Draft target Greg Hardy. Head over to the Audio Vault to check it out.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Syracuse WR Mike Williams, Arizona LB Vuna Tuihalamaka visited Owings Mills Monday


Voo-nah Too-ee-ha-la-mah-kah?

This makes Obafemi Ayanbadejo look like an elementary school name!

For the record, Tuihalamaka is 6’2″, 220 and had a HELL of a Pro Day in Tucson. Does that mean he’ll be a great player at the NFL level? Of course not. Does it mean that all of us in the radio business will be in trouble if he gets picked? It certainly does.

6. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Gaither officially reported to offseason program Monday

And we’re glad to have him back. Either he’ll help the team try to win a Super Bowl as the Left Tackle, or he’ll help the team try to win a Super Bowl by being dealt for a high pick in the NFL Draft.

The point is, the guy is going to help the Ravens try to win a Super Bowl. That’s all I can ask for.

7. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora says Redskins could be interested in making deal for Jared Gaither

And if they’re willing to part with their (very high) 2nd round pick; I would certainly assume that the Ravens would be willing to make that deal. It would give them the 37th pick in the Draft, which is a coveted position.

I’m not convinced myself that the Ravens are hotly pursuing this. I think they’d make the deal, but I don’t think they’re banging down the Skins’ door to try to make it happen.

Me personally, I’m trying to make a deal for Noureen Dewulf, the girlfriend of Sabres goalie and US Olympic hero Ryan Miller…


8. Washington Post says Greivis Vasquez named to AP All-American 2nd team

Which is a tremendous honor, and certainly is worth celebrating.

That being said-while EVERYONE agrees that John Wall, Evan Turner and Wes Johnson belonged on the 1st team; are DeMarcus Cousins and Scottie Reynolds REALLY 1st team All-Americans???

I’d say the “Vivacious Venezuelan” should have been about one team higher.

9. Inside Lacrosse says Maryland 4th, Loyola 12th, Johns Hopkins 16th in new Top 20 poll

Seeing as how I don’t think the Blue Jays have much of a chance to beat North Carolina this weekend, there’s a real chance that Dave Pietramala’s squad will be completely outside of the Top 20 next week.

Should we just go ahead and wave the white flag to New York and New Jersey at this point?

10. Baltimore Blast Official Site says Blast eliminated from MISL playoffs by Monterrey La Raza in OT

Which means it is now officially OFFICIALLY baseball season in Baltimore…I guess.

Nestor went to 1st Mariner Arena three straight nights (Shogun Fights, Baltimore Mariners, Blast) and decided to document it…

The term “glutton for punishment” comes to mind.

And finally, I leave you with this.

It has bothered me for a long time that there isn’t an indoor lacrosse team here in Baltimore. I know the arena stinks, but there was a team in PHOENIX when I lived out there! This market can ABSOLUTELY get 5,000 people out to games!

I’m bothered MORE that there isn’t an indoor lacrosse team in Baltimore when I see what happened at the recent Boston Blazers/Philadelphia Wings game…

Why can’t we have that?!?!?!?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because Gus Johnson beat Xavier and Kansas State in double overtime last night…

…in a game that I watched sans pants, mostly because they would have only gotten in the way.

And as I said on Twitter last night, if you could watch a game like that last night and tell me you prefer the NBA to college hoops, I’m not sure you and I would be able to have even a 5 minute conversation before I was done with you.

Now, Butler also beat Syracuse last night, so the sound you heard was a soft whimper as I realized that Intern Genna was now certainly going to beat me in our in-house bracket contest here at 1550 Hart Rd.

That’s right, I’m going to have to suck it up and admit that I lost to a girl.

BUT…at least it was a really photogenic girl…as evidenced by this photo her modeling agency sent to us…


And the other thing abotu Intern Genna that I like a lot is the fact that she’s classy. She told me she was considering running for a spot in the U.S. Senate in the future-and you know what, I think I’ll just do her a favor and put together the slideshow she should use at her campaign fundraisers….


Classy gal. I know she’d get my vote.

Of course, while researching Genna’s Facebook pictures for some appropriate photographic material, I couldn’t help but notice her much prettier sister…


She may be skilled on Photoshop, but she’s in for a long fight on this.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Brad Bergesen went 5 2/3 scoreless for Birds in 8-0 win over Yankees

I swear to God, can the season just go ahead and end now? It’s not getting any better!!!

Hell, MASN has no guts at all if they don’t just go ahead and turn this one Spring Training win into one of those “This is Birdland” commercials.

Which is at least better than the last commercial Brad Bergesen was involved with.

(Edit from GMC: Hey-O!)

2. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Jake Arrieta reassigned to Orioles minor league camp

He’s GONNA get the chance this season, right?

I mean, I assume that Chris Tillman is the 5th starter and David Hernandez would be the first guy to move into the rotation if necessary; but Arrieta is the next guy after that.


I mean, I know the Orioles are mad because he complained about the facilities in Ft. Lauderdale; but even they knew the place was a dump and packed up for Sarasota-so they can’t possibly still be mad, can they?

For example, I was mad at Talulah Riley for letting Esquire get a copy of those personal pictures she sent to me; but I’ve decided I could get over it. (Thanks Egotastic!)


3. USA Today’s Scott Boeck says Brian Roberts set to return to O’s lineup tonight against Twins

Which is why I’m glad I have nothing to do tonight. I’ll just sit at home, crack open a cold Moosehead, and enjoy Baltimore-Minnesota live on MASN!

Wait a second…

You mean to tell me the game isn’t on TV?!?!?


(Edit from GMC: In all seriousness, welcome back B-Rob. Now please don’t let it take weeks for you to heat up. We don’t have that much time.)

4. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ravens re-signed RB Matt Lawrence


To be serious, Matt Lawrence was a valuable special teams player before the Ravens before injuring his knee, so much so that he was active week in and week out despite only getting RB snaps at the end of the blowout win over the Browns.

But the fact that he shares a name with an actor from Boy Meets World makes him so much more valuable to me. If only there was a way the Ravens could sign someone named “Danielle Fishel”…


5. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens attended Pro Days for Mississippi State LB Jamar Chaney, UConn WR Marcus Easley

Not the sexiest of names, but apparently Charlize Theron wasn’t holding a Pro Day this year.

Easley will be an interesting choice, somewhat similar to Ole Miss WR Shay Hodge, who we talked about yesterday.

Keep in mind, the Ravens will almost certainly draft a receiver, as Donte’ Stallworth is under contract for only one season; and the Ravens are uninterested in doing something long-term with Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams or Marcus Smith.

6. ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens will have 25th, 57th, 156th, 157th and 194th overall picks in NFL Draft

No pressure here Ozzie Newsome and company, but if you don’t come up with NFL starters for next season with all of those picks; Ravens fans are going to beat you up.

It’s just what we do now.

7. The AP says WR Mark Clayton in South Africa in advance of this summer’s World Cup

Which is kinda funny, considering I saw Trevor Pryce, Domonique Foxworth, Clayton and others in the Ravens locker room playing soccer many times during the season last year.

If I was making a trip to South Africa, I would need to see this fella…

8. The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer says Maryland womens hoops team sees season end with loss to Providence in WNIT

Congratulations to Brenda Frese’s team on another 20 win season, even if it did fall short of what we had hoped they would accomplish.

Hopefully a year from now we will be talking about a Final Four return.

Sorry I don’t have more to add here. It’s the WNIT. I’m more geeked for the EagleBank Bowl.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Caleb Porzel will miss ‘much of’ Terps’ spring practice due to academic reasons

Good to see that mainstream Maryland reporters are out at Spring practice to cover important stories like this. Not that Patrick isn’t a mainstream reporter (he very much is-he just doesn’t have a mainstream revenue source supporting him); but it would be nice to see the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Carroll County Times, etc. reporting on things like this.

Of course, sometimes this is what happens when you go 2-10.

10. Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Terrapins FB Taylor Watson suffered likely ACL tear, could miss up to 6 months (must subscribe)

Speaking of important stories from Spring practice.

But in fairness, as important as Taylor Watson news is, does anyone have any news on Taylor Cole from the show “Summerland”?


11. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns previews tomorrow’s ESPN2 showdown between Johns Hopkins & Virginia, ESPNU showdown between Maryland & North Carolina

UVa & UNC are evil. They most go down.

12. PRLog runs down tomorrow night’s card for Shogun Fights II at 1st Mariner Arena

Be there. Or this man will haunt you in your sleep…


And finally, I leave you with this.

Sunday night is WrestleMania 26 in Phoenix, and an old friend of mine called me yesterday to offer me a ticket. Sadly, airfare is WELL over $600 for even the cheapest flights, so I will be unable to attend. BUT….I will certainly be watching. Not only to see “The Excellence in Execution” try to avenge the Montreal Screw Job, but also to see Chris Jericho defend his title against Edge.

And I heard something about Undertaker & Shawn Michaels???

No calls Sunday night.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 25 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because of Alicia Keys’ pants…

Highlights of the night (sorry I don’t have video from the actual show) included Alicia’s “Put It In a Love Song” (you know, the song she did with Beyonce on her new record)…

and Robin Thicke doing the tune “Shakin’ It For Daddy” (How could I have POSSIBLY NOT KNOWN ABOUT THIS?!?!?)

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says Brian Matusz shaky over 6 innings as Orioles fell to Cardinals

Not to put any unnecessary pressure on Brian Matusz, but…ummm….you’re not allowed to be shaky.

Like, ever.

I know this seems ridiculous, but you’re our bastian of hope. We really need you to be Tom Glavine as soon as….this season. I know you weren’t bad yesterday, but we can’t afford for you to even be shaky.

After the last 13 years, we’re a fragile bunch. We’re going to need you to be perfect.

And in fairness, we put the same expectation level on “Battlestar Galactica” actress Grace Park, and she managed to live up to the expectations (Thanks WWTDD)…..


2. The AP says Miguel Tejada’s probation extended 6 months or until he completes community service

Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way….

“No, playing for the Orioles does NOT count as community service, even if it IS more degrading than collecting trash along the highway.”

Sorry, I had to get that out of the way.

Look, do I think it’s a bit odd that Miguel Tejada had an entire offseason to finish his community service requirements and was unable to do it? Yeah, I do. BUT, it is totally possible that Tejada assumed that something he did WOULD be approved as community service, only to have his probation officer tell him it wouldn’t be approved.

As far as his trip to help earthquake victims in Haiti is concerned, it would be my assumption that because he was convicted of a federal crime, the community service would have to be performed in the United States.

Hopefully someone in Sarasota will actually ask him about the situation today before (or after) the Birds play the Yankees. Guess what! You can actually see today’s game on MASN, too!

Which I guess means they ran out of episodes of the East Carolina basketball show…

3. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says O’s farm director David Stockstill to be replaced by brother John Stockstill, others

Rosenthal says the organization was frustrated with some of how Stockstill was doing his job.

In a related story, I’m personally frustrated with much of how the organization has done THEIR job.

This is absolutely an important role within the organization, and while it’s a bit odd that Andy MacPhail would make this decision as Spring Training closes and with Opening Day just around the corner-I don’t think it’s something we really need to look too far into.

Of course, I’ve thought a lot of things in my day. Like when I thought I could possibly eat 33 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in one sitting. I should have known I’d tap out at 27.

4. WNST.net’s Rex Snider says Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar belong in Orioles Hall of Fame

These are certainly “great debate” topics. Frankly, if the Orioles Advocates are going to put Johnny Oates in the Hall of Fame-there’s NO argument that Roberto Alomar can’t be in. Johnny Oates was a mediocre manager for four seasons (even if he was a nice guy) while Roberto Alomar was a TREMENDOUS player for three seasons. It negates the “he wasn’t here long enough” argument.

As far as Rafael Palmeiro is concerned, I think he has to be in-but I understand the argument. If you’d just rather not put someone who caused the organization such public embarrassment in, I don’t know that I can argue too much. HOWEVER-Palmeiro also was the source of some of the better moments over the last 20 seasons as well. It’s a legitimate debate.

Sort of like “Is that chick Pauley Perrette from NCIS hot?”|


I honest to God can’t say for sure.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says former Syracuse WR Mike Williams will work out for Ravens Monday

What is it about the name Mike Williams and the NFL Draft?

First there was the USC receiver who tried to follow the Maurice Clarett path out of college football, only to have his path to the Draft stopped by a judge and his path BACK to the Trojans stopped by the NCAA. After being drafted by the Lions, he eventually got too fat to play the position and had to leave the league entirely.

Then there was the Offensive Tackle from Texas who was selected 4th overall by the Bills, then ballooned up to over 400 pounds before eventually being “rescued” by the Washington Redskins. (Oxy moron?) Despite being a Top 5 pick, Williams has been named to as many Pro Bowls as Intern Super Jack.

Now, there’s another Mike Williams-and he already comes in with question marks after leaving the Orange halfway through the season. I don’t think it’s fair to just naturally assume that means he’s on his way to NFL Draft bust-dom; but it certainly can’t bode well.

I think the only name that would bode worse would be “Tony Mandarich.”

6. The Sun’s Mike Preston says Michael McCrary to work with Terrell Suggs, Ravens pass rushers

This is a logical fit-all legal issues aside. The Ravens use a number of volunteer coaches during Training Camp (when he’s not apologizing for Cincinnati Bearcats basketball, Brad “It’s Your Boy” Jackson has spent plenty of time doing the same thing); and it is certainly good to have other guys around who already knows what it means to “Play Like a Raven.”

Of course, I’d like to have Rob Fahey around more often to help us learn how to “Play Like a Ravyn.”

7. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Jared Gaither now plans to report to offseason program Monday

Thank God! Civic crisis over!!!

In fairness, it will be good to have Jared Gaither in Owings Mills this offseason. That being said, I don’t think it will get Ozzie Newsome too much closer to getting a contract extension done.

I really believe that at this point, the Ravens are comfortable with the idea that Gaither can play an anchor tackle position for a team that has a chance to win a Super Bowl. While attempting to deal him for a high pick in the NFL Draft is a nice idea, I don’t think it’s particularly realistic at this point-and I don’t think playing an unproven RT (say, Oniel Cousins) is the best bet for a team trying to make sure they win the AFC North this season.

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says team looked at Shay Hodge, Dexter McCluster, Greg Hardy, etc. at Ole Miss Pro Day

All of whom are interesting prospects. Hodge is mid-sized receiver (6’1″) who should be available a bit later in the Draft-and would have to be at least a bit intriguing to the Ravens as the weekend progresses.

McCluster is a back EVERYONE is talking about, as he is as much a good pass catcher and route runner as he is a solid ball carrier. Is he as complete as Ray Rice? Maybe not, but he sure as hell is an interesting player-even if there isn’t necessarily a natural role for him in Baltimore right now.

And Hardy was a SLAM DUNK 1st round choice before injury, but certainly could still be a pass rush monster at the next level. If you’re not aware, the Ravens could use some help in that area.

If you missed Drew Forrester’s interviews with Draft prospects Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest CB) and Devin McCourty (Rutgers CB) today on “The Comcast Morning Show”, check out the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

9. UMTerps.com previews tonight’s WNIT matchup between Terrapins women, Providence at Comcast Center

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, wander down to College Park and root out Brenda Frese’s gals as they continue their attempt to salvage their season.

Unrelated, the NCAA Tournament continues tonight-and I’ll of course be rooting for Syracause-not because I’m a fan of the Orange; but because I picked them to win the entire NCAA Tournament in the in-house bracket here at 1550 Hart Rd. Of course, Luke Jones did as well, so I’m also going to need West Virginia to lose in the process.

One thing I know for sure. I’m NOT losing to Intern Genna! Now, for absolutely no reason at all-here’s a picture of Intern Genna kissing a friend of hers that I found while Facebook stalking. I’ll leave it up here until AT LEAST when she asks me to take it down. Maybe later than that.


10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland LB Alex Wujciak healthy this Spring, ready to help lead defense

It’s on him and Adrian Moten. They’ll need to be both the physical and emotional leaders of a defensive unit that showed some signs of improvement down the stretch last season, but was still woefully incomplete.

Does anyone have a recruiting update on Connor Wujciak, by the way?

11. Mary Washington Official Site says Eagles fell 11-4 to Stevenson in lacrosse

Which means the ‘Stangs are now 8-0. They return to action Saturday with a big game against Top 10 Roanoke at 1pm over at Caves Athletic Complex. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth checking out if you’re in town.

12. TowsonTigers.com says football season tickets go on sale next Thursday

So….make sure you get yours early???

In all seriousness, Tigers football is a VERY affordable option for your sports entertainment dollar. Season tickets start at just $50.

While we’re on the subject of tickets-I’ve realized that in order to get any sort of reasonable tickets to the U2 show in Philadelphia this July-I’m going to have to use a secondhand site and pay between $100 and $150 for tickets. I’ll be happy to do it-but only If I’m guaranteed they’ll close the show with “Bad.”

And finally, I leave you with this.

Josh Smith did this last night. You didn’t. He’s better than you.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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NCAA Tournament Glory For Some, Heartbreak For Maryland Fans

Posted on 21 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

There are names that are synonymous with NCAA Tournament history.

Christian Laettner, James Forrest, Tyus Edney, Bryce Drew, Drew Nicholas and just days ago Danero Thomas are amongst a group of players who have all given basketball fans a lifetime of memories thanks to individual shots during the absolute greatest event we have the privilege to enjoy as sports fans.

As of Sunday, Korie Lucious now adds his name to that list.

Unfortunately, that means that Maryland fans now are forced to see the other side.

When Christian Laettner daggered Kentucky in Philadelphia, there were thousands of Wildcats fans who truly believed they were going to get to see their team win a NCAA title.

When James Forrest had a prayer answered in Round 2, fans of the USC Trojans had already purchased flights and tickets for the Sweet 16.

When Tyus Edney went coast to coast to beat Missouri, fans of the Tigers were already thinking about how they had ended the National Title hopes of the great UCLA Bruins.

When Bryce Drew landed a miraculous bomb against Ole Miss, Rebels fans were thinking that they had survived a scare from Valparaiso and were ready to make a deep run through the Tournament.

When Drew Nicholas connected on one of the more miraculous shots in college basketball history, fans of UNC-Wilmington had already started texting each other about the improbability of joining Princeton on the list of teams who had eliminated defending national champions in Round 1.

When Danero Thomas beat the buzzer to burst Vanderbilt just days ago, fans of the Commodores were already looking at how the bracket might open up for them, and thinking about what they might be able to do against Syracuse in the Sweet 16.

And when Korie Lucious turned a miracle finish for his opponents into a miracle finish for Michigan State, Maryland fans……probably haven’t been able to bounce back yet.

It doesn’t seem fair.

After being thoroughly outplayed for 38 minutes, the Maryland Terrapins showed an incredible amount of poise and heart in forging ahead of Michigan State late, only to see the Spartans win things 85-83 on a buzzer beating 3 ball from Lucious.

It SHOULDN’T have ended that way for Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne. It shouldn’t have ended that way for a Maryland team that gave fans a season’s worth of memories unlike any Maryland team since the 2001-2002 National Championship squad.

Yet, it did.

And it did for those players at Kentucky. And for those players at USC. And Missouri. And….you get the point.

For every moment that reminds us as basketball fans of just why the NCAA Tournament is truly the greatest month in all of sports, there are a group of fans who can’t stomach even the thought of those moments.

For every time we’re reminded of just how amazing Harold “The Show” Arceneaux was for Weber State, there are a group of North Carolina fans who experience heartbreak all over again.

For every time we think about just how intense the final few moments of the Duke-UConn title game were before the Huskies were victorious, there are a group of Duke fans who can’t believe Coach K’s most talented team didn’t win a title. Maryland fans remember the 2002 Elite 8 classic inside the Carrier Dome as one of the greatest games in college basketball history. Those Huskies fans remember it as a nightmare.

Of course, those same Huskies fans still remember the elation of Tate George, while Clemson would be fine with never hearing that name again.

The closest Maryland fans have come to feeling the other side was in 2001, when the Terps built a 22 point advantage over Duke in a Final Four showdown in Minneapolis before crumbling in the 2nd half.

For some reason, the dagger knocked down by Lucious has a more heartbreaking feeling. Maybe it is because Maryland fans knew Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter and Steve Blake would be back to make another run at a national championship; while Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes have played their final game in a Maryland uniform. Maybe it’s because Maryland had put together such a furious rally and gotten a possibly heroic shot from Vasquez just seconds before Lucious would deliver the dagger.

Whatever the reason, the heartbreak is greater.

But the heartbreak of the NCAA Tournament is the glory of the NCAA Tournament.

Everything was on the line in Spokane. A group of young men battled knowing that if they lost, their season was over.

It’s hard to remember on a day like Sunday that THIS is why we love the NCAA Tournament, but it most certainly is.

It’s just not the feeling we were hoping for right now.


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Live From Indianapolis: Combine Open Thread

Posted on 28 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Indianapolis, IN Greetings from LucasOil Stadium here in Indianapolis, where we continue our coverage of the annual NFL Scouting Combine. We were able to meet with a number of Defensive Linemen & Linebackers yesterday, as well as a few Quarterbacks, Running Backs and Wide Receivers. We were also able to talk to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh; after we had let everyone know that the team was interested in free agent Wide Receiver Terrell Owens. If you missed it, check out the Audio Vault here on the front page of WNST.net.

Today, we are going to meet with some more Defensive Linemen and Linebackers; then make way for Defensive Backs. Please keep in mind that we are not in the stadium watching the workouts you are seeing on the NFL Network’s coverage, but we do have those screens to monitor what is going on. Please feel free to ask any questions about players the Ravens may or may not be interested in, or things that might happen this week leading up to the start of free agency.



3:54pm-If you haven’t seen my interview with former Terrapins CB Nolan Carroll yet-take a look…

3:43pm-Notre Dame safety Kyle McCarthy says he never scrapped with Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski (a former Fighting Irish teammate) in South Bend because the former boxer “didn’t want to” fight him. He was kidding. I think. McCarthy later told me Zbikowski was “a good buddy”, who he figured would be campaigning to get him to Charm City. He has already met with the Ravens.

UCLA CB Alterraun Verner told me he believes he will meet with the Ravens tonight, he previously spoke to the team briefly at the Shrine Game.

LSU Safety Chad Jones says he’s met with the Ravens, amongst a number of teams he’s talked to here in Indianapolis. Jones-who also played baseball for the Tigers-was previously drafted by the Houston Astros. He is thought of as one of the best Safety prospects in Indianapolis.

Virginia Tech safety Kam Chancellor says that when he talked to the Ravens in Orlando, they were most interested in knowing what he’d run in the 40 here at the Combine. He told me he expects to run a high 4.4.

Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy HAS spoke with the Ravens, and he told them he’s playing at 100% after missing time due to foot and wrist injuries last year. He still talks to former Rebels teammate Michael Oher, and believes he can either stand up or play with his hand in the dirt in the NFL.

3:36pm-South Florida CB Jerome Murphy told us he’s had “informal” contact with the Ravens. The former Bulls star spent the better part of his conversation talking about his gold teeth, including fielding questions about how he brushes them. His size (6’1″) will make him interesting for the Ravens.

Former Rutgers CB Devin McCourty chatted with me for a while, after he joined me as a guest on AM1570 WNST from Ft. Lauderdale the week of the Super Bowl. McCourty says he hasn’t talked to the Ravens yet, but has been in contact with former Scarlet Knights RB Ray Rice plenty during the process. I also talked to Indiana (Pennsylvania) CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, who we had talked to from Radio Row as well.

Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson won’t be able to run here at the Combine due to a hamstring injury, but he’ll do everything else. He’d be a smaller CB option (5’9″), but might end up on the Ravens radar-although he hasn’t talked to them yet.

3:32pm-Some players come to the Combine and wow teams with their personality and interview skills. Others are forced to let their football do the talking. In the case of Florida State teammates Patrick Robinson and Myron Rolle-we’ve seen both.

Rolle bowled the room over with his engaging personality and undeniable intelligence. This wasn’t unexpected, Rolle was a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford last year. Yet Rolle (the cousin of Ravens CB Samari Rolle) still managed to impress, telling tales of how he wants to become a neurosurgeon after his NFL career and is inspired by Johns Hopkins doctor Ben Carson.

On the flip side, Patrick Robinson unfortunately suffers from a speech disorder that causes him to stutter. He was very polite, but wasn’t able to answer long questions. This won’t lead to a team not picking him, but it didn’t give him the opportunity to blow teams away that might be on the fence about him. He did convey that he aspires to be like former Seminoles (and Ravens) CB Deion Sanders.

3:21pm-I hope you’ve been following us on Twitter (@WNST), as I’ve been run ragged trying to keep up today. Let me try to update you…

Oregon safety T.J. Ward told me he has a “very similar game ” to Patriots Safety (and former Ducks teammate) Patrick Chung. Chung worked out with the Ravens in Owings Mills last year. Ward talked to the Ravens at the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, and was told his ankle checked out “100%.”

Arizona CB Devin Ross says he’s “watched plenty of film” on former Wildcats/Ravens CB Chris Diego, Anoine Cason, TucMcAlister, but says his game is more similar to San Diego Chargers CB Antoine Cason (who was a teammate of Ross’ in Tucson). He expects to meet with the Ravens tonight.

12:05pm-Eric Berry from Tennessee is taking up most of the attention in the room right now-but since he’s unlikely to end up in Baltimore, I’ll take a few minutes to catch up:

Most of the Defensive Backs here in Indy won’t have a chance for formal meetings with teams until tonight, and the bulk of them aren’t entirely sure who they’ll be meeting with. Count Alabama CB Kareem Jackson in that group, but he’s gotten plenty of attention from NFL scouts. He told us that the toughest receiver he faced during his college career was LSU’s Brandon LaFell. Both players are on the Ravens’ radar-and you always know Ozzie Newsome is paying close attention to every Crimson Tide player available.

Toledo’s Barry Church will be available on Saturday, and will be an interesting option. He says he talked to the Ravens at the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, where they told him they wanted him to improve on his “ball skills” and playing the ball at the “highest point.”

Wake Forest’s Brandon Ghee believes he’ll be meeting with the Ravens tonight. He’ll ultimately be compared with Denver Broncos CB (and fellow former Demon Deacon) Alphonso Smith, who was drafted a year ago. Ghee is bigger than Smith, but probably won’t be selected as high.

Fresno State’s AJ Jefferson told me he’d “love to play alongside Ray Lewis” and the Baltimore defense-many defensive players here have said something similar.

Nebraska safety Larry Asante is overshadowed here by his Cornhuskers teammate Ndamukong Suh. He’s totally okay with that, and could be an interesting option on Friday or Saturday night-even for a Ravens team that doesn’t REALLY need safety help.

Maryland CB Nolan Carroll chatted with us for a few minutes…but if you want to know what he had to say about interest from the Ravens, recovering from a broken leg, and the Terps basketball team; you’ll have to check it out at WNSTV!

11:03am-Oklahoma DB Dominique Franks and Oklahoma State DB Perrish Cox are both very much on the Ravens’ radar, and each have stopped by this morning.

Cox HAS met with the Ravens, and described Ozzie Newsome as “intense.” He’s a Thursday or Friday night pick at this point, believes he can prove himself worthy of a high choice. He has had the experience of going up against fellow former Cowboys WR Dez Bryant in practice, which will help him at the NFL level.

Franks did not want to let us know which teams he had met with (only Sam Bradford-a fellow Sooner had previously also chose not to discuss the teams he had talked to), but let us know he measured in at 5’11”, 194 pounds. He said he needed to improve his “technique”, saying he has relied on “playing on ability” during his career in Norman.

10:30am-Clemson CB Crezdon Butler was the first DB in the room. He wasn’t too happy when I reminded him that the Tigers were the only FBS team Maryland beat this season (or that Maryland came from behind to win in Death Valley in 2008). He said the Ravens have shown interest. He’s got decent size (6’0″), but isn’t exactly a big time prospect here.

9:16am-Some interesting names we’re expecting to see stroll through the media center today include Virginia CB Chris Cook, Florida State CB Patrick Robinson, Boise State CB Kyle Wilson, Rutgers CB Devin McCourty, Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee, Alabama CB Javier Arenas, Arizona CB Devin Ross, Virginia Tech FS Kam Chancellor, Maryland FS Terrell Skinner, Oregon SS T.J. Ward, Ohio State SS Kurt Coleman, and Florida State SS Myron Rolle.

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