Thursday, August 29, 2013

USC Coach Lane Kiffin Is A Liar

USC football coach Lane Kiffin is a liar.

Does he think we're stupid? How does he expect us to swallow his bull about not naming a starting QB because he can't chose between third-year sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. The Hawaii game is tonight and, as of this morning, he's still playing musical chairs with his QBs..

Look at Kiffin's credentials. He learned offense under Pete Carroll during SC's spectacular run last decade. Kiffin was such a boy wonder that he was, for a time,  head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Then he fell into another prestige gig, head coach of Tennessee in the rugged SEC, before taking over at SC, where he tutored QB Matt Barkley, who's now with the Eagles. So Kiffiin, revered as this wizard of offense, is trying to make us believe that he can't see which of these two young QBs should be starting.

Lies, lies, lies....

Apparently it's not the close race Kiffin keeps talking about. Much of what goes on in pre-season at SC is done in secret. The media is shut out of practices but gets to see some scrimmaging. But players talk to assorted sources. Word gets out. Based on the entire pre-season, Kessler deserves the job. According to sources close to two players, Kessler has been the Man all along. He has superior accuracy and athleticism,  a greater grasp of the offense and is more skilled at reading defenses. In the huddle, he's a more commanding figure. The players know who's best. Most of them, say the sources, side with Kessler. Insiders say it's a no-brainer, that Kessler should be the starter.. If it's obvious to the players and those close to the team, then Kiffin, with all his knowledge, has to see it too. Yet he won't commit to Kessler.


It's simple. Kiffin doesn't want to alienate Wittek  If he knew he was going to sit on the bench all season, Wittek might transfer to a school that guarantees him playing time, If Kiffin had decided weeks ago, and  handed the starting job to Kessler, Wittek would probably be gone now. That would leave SC with no backup QB and force Kiffin to use heralded but raw freshman Max Browne instead of letting him redshirt..Mainly, though, without a decent backup QB, the season is one solid hit from going down the drain. Kiffin doesn't want SC to be in that position.

So, to keep from losing Wittek, Kiffin has to create this too-close-to-call sham, with lets him give the pair equal playing time in the early games, until one emerges as the starter. Fortunately for Kiffin, the first four games are relatively easy, so he can carry out this "experimental" plan without hurting the team's chances for a 4-0 start. Meanwhile Wittek sticks around and gets enough playing time, removing transferring as an option.

Most likely Kessler will start the Hawaii game tonight. Actually it's not starting, just being first in line to play. But the "contest" will go on, with.Wittek taking plenty of snaps against Hawaii. Unless Kessler really louses up and Wittek suddenly blossoms, this QB-by-committee could keep up through the first part of the season..

But all this is unfair to Kessler. He's earned the right to be the starting QB and should be getting the developmental benefits, like extra tutoring and the majority of snaps, that come with being the No.1.guy. Instead he has to play his role in Kiffin's game, which has to slow his progress. .

It can't be a picnic for Wittek either. The stink of his last performance, the Sun Bowl disaster, still hovers around him. He's looking to get past that but, stuck in a QB battle, that's going to be tougher. He might be better off starting over at another Division 1 school. But, at this point, transferring isn't likely.

Who's Kiffin, with his lies, looking out for? The school, for sure. Himself, for sure. Without a solid backup QB, SC might have a losing season and Kiffin would certainly wind up jobless.What about Kessler and Wittek? Kiffin isn't looking out for them. Either one could wind up as collateral damage.

And what about the players? They see Wittek as a pawn in Kiffin's game. They know their coach is not being truthful. The respect level for Kiffin, report the sources, is way down. That's not good.

Nice going, Lane

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Behind the Scenes in Yankees' Locker Room--Ugly

You think the fans hate A-Rod? You ain't seen nothing until you see what's going on behind the scenes in the Yankees' locker room. His teammates don't like him either.

Yankee players wish that third baseman Alex Rodriguez, suspended for 211 games for doping, would just go away. But A-Rod is appealing the decision and, having recovered from January hip surgery, was back on the field Aug. 5. While nowhere near the A-Rod of his glory days, he's playing respectably, hitting in the .315 vicinity. But with A-Rod comes a media circus, which is detrimental to the team. There's another problem. Opposing pitchers are using him for target practice..That drags the Yankees into bean-ball wars, forcing Yankee pitchers to retaliate, forcing pitchers to throw at other Yankees, turning them into collateral damage..

When Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster was blatantly throwing at A-Rod last Sunday, that triggered a bean-ball war that will go on through the rest of the season. Dempster was fined for his vicious attack but everybody knows that's not going to do any good. A-Rod and other Yankees will get plunked. Do you think Yankee players like getting involved in this mess because of a washed-up egomaniac that nobody liked in the first place?

According to sources close to several Yankee players, A-Rod is, more than ever, an island in the locker room. It's no secret that the No.1 Yankee, team-first die-hard Derek Jeter, never wanted A-Rod around, with his Hollywood antics and me-me-me attitude. The breach between the two is even worse. Several players, say the sources, refer to A-Rod as the selfish a-hole. His teammates, report the sources, shy away from him and talk to him as little as possible. Some of the verbal confrontations between A-Rod and other Yankees, say the sources, have been nasty. Whatever civility you see between A-Rod and his teammates during games is apparently bogus. It's not good for a team's image to have players fighting among themselves, so they appear friendly in public. But back in the locker room, away from fans and media, it's apparently ugly, with anger, tension and resentment reigning. Intensity and focus, staples of winning teams, get snuffed out in this kind of atmosphere.

Like most baseball players, most Yankees hate steroid users. The doping scandal stains the entire sport, making any player who's having a good season suspect. So A-Rod is as popular with Yankee players as the other major doper, Ryan Braun, is with his Milwaukee teammates. The anti-steroid faction among players looks upon steroid users as despicable cheaters who are ruining the game. A Rod has nosed out Braun and become the face of steroid use in baseball, so the collective venom against doping is being showered on him.

Struggling all season, dragged down by aging and injured players, the Yankees are battling to dig themselves out of a deep hole and land in the playoffs. Burdened with all the A-Rod baggage, climbing out of that hole is even tougher.

A-Rod just announced that he's going to call off his legal attack dogs for now and concentrate on helping the Yankees make the playoffs. In other words, he's suddenly going to morph into a caring teammate. Is that possible? Can A-Rod and his blood-thirsty reps back off and bow out of the headlines? My guess is no.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Is The Eagles' Riley Cooper a Racist? Not Really

When watching the viral video, shot in June at a Kenny Chesney concert, of white Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper dropping an n-bomb during a verbal confrontation with a black security guard, one thing jumps out at you. He says the word easily--too easily. He's said it before. No doubt about it.

Cooper, though, swears he's never said it before. Don't believe it. Barry K, 34, a source close to several Eagles players, claims Cooper is no novice at using the n-word: "Guys I know, football players, tell me he's used the word before. He'll  never admit it..Why should be? Who can prove anything anyway? It's a word white guys, particularly white guys from the South, use sometimes. They grew up using it. Cooper is from the South (Oklahoma City). It's natural to them, probably natural to him in some ways. It's part of their vocabulary."

Does Cooper using the n-word mean he's a racist? "Of course not," Barry K replies. "I use the n-word sometimes and I'm not a racist. Just last week I was driving in Chicago and this car cut in front of me and I almost had an accident. It was a black guy driving. I gave him the finger and called him the n-word. I was angry in the moment. Am I a racist because of that? No way. My best friend is black. I've used the n-word in front of him. Most white people who say they've never used the n-word are lying..And white people who have used the n-word aren't all racist."

Cooper, Barry K insists, isn't the only NFL player to use a racial slur;. "I've been around pro football players and pro football locker rooms for years. These are down 'n' dirty guys. These are tough, violent people who swear all the time.You expect them to talk like angels, like school girls? They talk street talk. Racial slurs are part of street talk. Racial slurs fly around all the time in locker rooms and on the field. There's no hatred behind this talk. It's just words..I've heard black players talk about kikes. I'm a New York Jew and it doesn't bother me. Black guys use racial slurs talking about white guys. White guys and black guys talk about beaners, referring to Latin guys. I remember once a famous white quarterback was sitting in the locker room and one of his black buddies dumped a pail of water on him. It was all in fun.The quarterback said:: 'Nigger, get your black ass out of here!' Everybody was laughing. It was just locker-room foolishness. But if somebody had a video of that, the quarterback would have been ruined forever.".

Cooper, though, dropped the n-bomb outside the locker room context and is being crucified for it. "He had a few drinks and he wasn't careful about what he was saying, "Barry K explains. "He didn't know he was being recorded. He got ambushed and he's paying the price."

Barry K explains that Cooper, though being trampled as a racist, is one of the good guys: "According to people I've talked to around the league, he's well-liked. He's decent. Everybody--blacks and whites--likes him. If he was an ass, a racist, it would be different. He'd be getting what he deserves. He doesn't deserve what he's getting."

Cooper, Barry K laments, is doomed to wear that scarlet R--for racist--forever: "He'll be haunted by this for the rest of his life. Using the n-word that one time means he'll always be the guy who hates blacks. He could join the NAACP and donate money to black causes for years and years and it still wouldn't make a difference to most people. Black fans will target him, boo him, curse him. He's permanently branded. I feel sorry for the poor guy. You couldn't pay me to be in his shoes.".

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kansas Coach Charlie Weis--An Insensitive Jerk

No doubt about it. Kansas football coach Charlie Weis is an insensitive jerk, a crude big-mouth who's too much of an ass to see that he's crossed way over the line.

At Big 12 Media Day last week, he was the center of attention with his rants about his 1-11 team last year, which he cruelly dissed as "a pile of crap." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Many members of that team are back this season. How does that "pile of crap" dagger make them feel? Clearly that didn't occur to Mr. Sensitivity.

Weis boasted that he used that angle to recruit players, saying the team is such a "pile of crap" that, if you come to Kansas, you have a good chance to play right away. That's a ridiculous recruiting tactic on many levels. First of all, if I was a parent and this blowhard was in my living room trying to convince my son to come play for him by viciously demeaning his current team, I'd kick his fat butt out the door. Why would parents turn their sons over to someone who demeans his players so viciously in public? Wouldn't parents  fear that, one day, he'd trash their son the same way?. That kind of talk indicates that Weis has the sensitivity of a warthog.

Secondly, doesn't the team being that bad say something about the coach? How good can a coach with a 1-11 record be?. Yes, when Weis started last season, he inherited a bad team, but he did nothing to make it better. By calling the team a pile of crap he puts the blame on the players, suggesting that he'd have a better record with a more talented roster. But, if he's any kind of a coach, couldn't he have eked out more victories, even with so few quality players?

Talking so nastily about your players in public says something about a coach's character. Only a heartless boob would do that. Would you hear such trash talk from Urban Meyer or Nick Saban or David Shaw or any of the best college coaches? Hell no.

For years, Weis has been on a roll--downhill. After getting run out of Notre Dame, following a so-so 35-27 record in 2005-2009, he didn't do much as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010. Then he spent a year, at the same position, at the University of Florida. Their offense, reeling when he arrived, actually regressed. Gator fans cheered when he abandoned Gainesville for Lawrence, Kansas, to clean up with mess left when Turner Gill was fired at the end of 2011. In Gill's last season, Kansas was 2-10. The bar was set low but Weis couldn't top it, debuting last season at 1-11. The team opened with a 31-17 win over lowly South Dakota State and then embarrassingly stumbled to eleven straight losses.

Kansas has only itself to blame. The coach-hiring committee didn't do its homework. They could have done much better than Weis. The word has been out for years about him in high-school and college-football player circles. Players aren't crazy about Weis. They didn't like him at Notre Dame and really were turned off by him at Florida. He's an egomaniac and a bully, an arrogant loudmouth who doesn't know how to relate to players. A self-absorbed, pompous cold fish, he talks down to players. Eventually they tune him out and don't play hard for him.

The future isn't really bright for Kansas. With Weis' bone-headed recruiting ploy, how is he going to attract any high-quality players? Why would any 4-or 5-star stud sign up to be abused by him? What he's mostly going to get is lesser players who can't do any better than sputtering Kansas. So far, he hasn't proved to be a good enough coach to make a winner out of a modestly talented team.

Kansas' prospects for this season? More of the same say the Big 12 forecasters--another bottom-of-the-barrel finish. But what else could you expect from a team headed by a "pile of crap" coach?