There's no place like Saturday...

February 25, 2011

First Quarter Hail Mary...2/25

"...where completion is considered unlikely"

Mack Brown shuts down the public

The rebuilding process at the University of Texas will be kept silent from some of the most curious and loyal fans in sports. Head coach Mack Brown has closed all of the team’s practices from the public, in an attempt to keep out all distractions from his team, staff and himself.

Some practices have been closed to the public in the past, but in light of the 5-7 season for the Longhorns last year, Brown has decided to close the shed on all practices this spring. Brown told the associated press:

"I don't want our players and our coaches trying to please other people to start practice. We've got a lot to do," Brown said. "I don't want media, I don't want people in the stands, I don't want autographs. Nothing right now. This is only about getting better."

He does however hope fans will show up when they are welcome back. In an interesting note, Brown did say all positions are open in spring practice, including quarterback, where junior Garrett Gilbert returns. Gilbert, the once highly touted recruit, threw just 10 touchdowns to 17 interceptions last year.

Who’s the best trick shot quarterback?

Forget trick shot basketball heaves and dunk contests, trick shot quarterback throws are more popular than a Charlie Sheen story on TMZ right now.

The original trick shot quarterback, UConn junior Johnny McEntee, has stated a hot trend in sports with his five minutes of fame and amazing throws throughout the UConn workout complex. Since McEntee, though, there have been others to attempt.

Monmouth College quarterback Alex Tanney has had his time in the spotlight, including, like McEntee, a guest spot on ESPN’s First and Ten. Tanney’s video is impressive and may even have McEntee beat.

Tanney hasn’t been the only challenger to McEntree. Daron Bryden, an 8-year old from Manchester Conn., produced his own trick video. Bryden can sling it too. It’s only 30 seconds, but what were you doing at 8-years old?

Who needs five star recruits anymore?

Every year, the hype and obsession with how many stars are next to a recruits name on the never ending list of recruiting sites seems to grow. The last four years, the No. 1 recruit in the nation has held out his decision, almost in attempt to bring on the spotlight.

When those five star recruits make it to college, though, they’re not always the ones keeping the headlines. Fresh starts and being overlooked can go a long way in motivating a player.

SI writer Andy Staples breaks down his annual All Two-Star team in his latest column. Highlighting the group is Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, Oregon State wideout James Rodgers and TCU linebacker Tank Carder.

A little insurance never hurts

You insure your house, you car, your boat, even your health. Why not insure that health on the football field? In an effort to make sure he’s never a poor man, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has taken out a $5 million insurance policy on himself, in case he suffers a career ending injury this fall.

Not a bad move really by Luck. The projected No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, turned down his opportunity to cash in on millions, to return to Stanford for his degree and another shot at a title. This way, he’s still guaranteed a pretty pay check one way or the other.

Luck isn’t the first player to take out a policy on their football health. Miami running back Willis McGahee actually became one of the first when he took out a $2 million policy just before the 2002 National Championship. As it turns out, McGahee almost ended up needing the money, going down in the game with a completely blown out knee. McGahee turned down the policy, and quickly recovered to become the first running back drafted that same year, though.

Hopefully Luck won’t need to make the same decision.

NFL Combine measurements coming in

Workouts for players attending the 2011 NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week won’t start until Saturday, Feb. 26, but the measurements of the offensive line and skill players are starting to roll in.

*note: combine heights are measured in eighths i.e. 6001 = 6’0’’ 1/8 or 6024 = 6’2’’ ½

Blaine Gabbert – 6043, 234-pounds. Ryan Mallett – 6066, 253. Cam Newton – 6050, 248. Mark Ingram – 5091, 215. AJ Green – 6035, 211. Julio Jones – 6026, 220. Jonathan Baldwin – 6043, 228. Torrey Smith – 6007, 204.

As for the offensive linemen and tight end notes from yesterday. TCU offensive tackle Marcus Cannon weighed in at a whopping 358-pounds. The best news came from USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith, who weighed in 307-pounds, up from the reported 285 he was at USC. Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph checked in at 6064, 259-pounds.

Villanova offensive tackle Ben Ijalana has been forced to drop from the combine, due to a sports hernia injury. The Chicago Bears met with Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi, while the Browns met with LSU offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale.

*Check back to my 2011 NFL Combine Numbers page for more measurements later.

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