Lou Holtz and Anna Benson by Eric
Skip Holtz’ comments following Monday’s practice were intriguing
considering the guest motivational speaker was his famous father.
“You can keep on saying something and saying
something as a parent, and all of a sudden somebody at school or a guy
that plays in the NFL or (ECU quarterback) James Pinkney says something
to my son, and it's like, “Dad, did you hear what he said?’ It’s like,
yeah, you’ve been hearing that every day for the last 12 years,” said
Skip Holtz referring to his oldest son Trey.
Go up the family tree a branch. Can his quote be interpreted that Skip
failed to be influenced by his father, who just happens to tout 249
wins, eighth most in college football history? If Lou’s dinner-table
speeches fell upon deaf ears, Skip did hang with the likes of Woody
Hayes and Gene Corrigan, which probably wasn’t a bad alternative.
2.Skip Holtz preceded his
father’s ESPN Gameday promise on Monday (click here) with
a speech stressing
accountability. The younger Holtz mentioned the importance of attending
study hall and classes. Offensive graduate assistant Kevin Turco has
been spotted on campus to make sure that athletes are arriving on time
at attend class.
3.The first scrimmage was blacked out to the media,
but paying fans from various Pirate Club chapters were granted access.
How much sense does that make? With fan message boards and niche blogs
rampant, the fans have access to publicize the information normally
secured for the media. The second scrimmage is scheduled to begin on
Friday at . It’s also
off limits to media personnel so don’t expect video highlights or
4.The rumors of Nike signing with ECU have been in the
mill for quite some time. However, the official release won’t happen
for at least another month. The contract is still being worked out and
from my understanding, the Russell Athletic deal has yet to be
completed. Mack McCarthy interviewed Martin Newton, the Nike college
basketball rep on Chalk Talk earlier this week (click here to listen).
Skip Holtz was instrumental in bringing Nike along
by utilizing a contact within the company. Also, ECU alum Carol Mabe is
no longer CEO of Russell Athletic, which made the split easier. If Nike
is willing to get on board, it shows the company’s recognition of both
ECU and Holtz’ potential.
5. Kudos for Brian North for his “Raising Pirate
Basketball” article (click here to read).
North, like me, doesn’t agree with the Ricky Stokes’ decision to revoke
scholarships without cause. If players wanted to leave the program on
their own, that’s fine. If they committed a rules violation or a crime,
then it’s widely considered fair game to pull a scholarship.
But not when you recruited the player a year ago, he
doesn’t want to leave and you aren’t positive who will receive the
scholarship. When was the last time that a coach tried to pull a
scholarship? South Carolina
high school coaches nearly revolted on Steve Spurrier when he yanked a
few. And those were marginal players he didn’t even recruit.
I’m shocked at the rank and file of the media and
fans citing the need for upgrade in talent. Where was the talent
deficit at the start of the season or even when both Josh King and
Quinton Goods inked letters of intent?
The problem for 2005-2006 was lack of size. Sans an
injured Mike Castro, Goods was the biggest player on the team and
played well when given substantial minutes namely at WakeForest. Instead,
Goods now has to wait for his release papers, find another school and
sit out a year.
All of this comes less than a year from the coaching
staff begging Goods to part of their new foundation. Now, Goods and the
staff are still trying to establish a foundation. What’s funny (or not
so funny) is that the seven transfers will penalize ECU further in the
Academic Progress Reports.
6. Senior Eric Graham’s offensive tackle expertise dates
back to a former friendly rivalry. Graham was a high school teammate of
defensive end Mario Williams at RichlandsHigh School in
Onslow Co. Both 2002 graduates, Graham and the potential No. 2 NFL
Draft pick have been swapping e-mails.
“He said he was trying to make it,” Graham said with
a half-smile. Asked further, he said that Williams has to be making it.
I’m not sure about Williams’ standards of living, but six-figure
salaries sprinkled with team workouts isn’t exactly roughing it.
7.Chris Johnson underwent successful surgery on his
neck during the week. His surgery was described as “tightening of the
nuts and bolts” in the neck. He will remain sidelined for the rest of
spring, but should be healthy for the fall. Aundrae Allison has been
practicing, but is being held out of contact drills to nurse his knee.
8. Sports Illustrated released “Writing up a Storm,”
inside it’s March 27th edition (link
to the entire Q & A). The
article focuses on ESPN Page 2 columnist and sports journalist pioneer
Bill Simmons. The 36-year-old Boston
native represents the transition from print to web technology in sports
journalism, which scares the bejesus out of newspaper reporters.
Simmons writes sports humor, which is extremely
difficult but with a twist. Simmons hides by sitting among the fans
instead of the stuffy press box. The Sports Guy, as he’s known by his
readers, isn’t afraid to heckle a referee- a general no-no in the
strict media rooms. He’s biased and for him it’s okay.
He’s what print reporters despise. He’s part of the anti-media media.
Like it or not, Simmons and others like him represent a new era in
journalism, one that makes my four-year degree worth $20 in Confederate
Think 1960s hippies revolting from 1950s
pleasant-ville. From there, think wild wild west and apply to
journalism. Fans want to hear similar voices while voicing their biased
opinions. Blogging makes a perfect marriage. The new fad, which is here
to stay, has created an ideal medium for fans to publish stream of
consciousness opinions with no repercussions.
9.Follow along with a far-fetched metaphor. The beat
reporter, a usually nerdy guy (sorry Nate Summers) follows one team.
Usually a he, the reporter travels with the team, stays after practice
and scratches for nuggets of information considered news worthy. He
interacts with players, often taking verbal abuse from athletes upset
with a published story. He has to be careful with his word selection to
not burn future sources. Equate him the cattle farmer, supplying the
nation with meat through hard work and tireless dedication.
The blogger (can be anybody) may or may not link the
reporter’s story. Instead, he adds his spin on the subject, which in
turn other people read. It’s conjecture based upon unqualified
opinions. It’s talk radio’s call-in opinions in textual form for
everyone to consume. The blogger is the chef who spices the news/meat
up through creativity. Still following?
10. Remember when Sportscenter was a necessity in
keeping up with the headlines? It was the first of its kind, when ESPN
brought a highlight show of national sports directly into living rooms.
ESPN, which was founded in 1979, still is the world’s network sports
leader. But Sportscenter’s relevancy is decreasing with each passing
day and it’s the web’s fault.
Fans on the west coast want to see highlights about
the Lakers while Wisconsin natives want updates
on Brett Favre’s retirement status. With the web, fans can seek
information rather than watch a half-hour show. Not to mention, fans
can receive up-to-second updates on game situations and scores instead
of waiting to catch the
Once the TV clips leave the infant stages on the
web, the migration from print and TV to the World Wide Web will be
complete. Say goodbye
news, meet on-demand clips. News gathering and reporters will still be
in demand, but the society will .
11. Anna Benson’s publicist should get a gold medal. It’s
sad when the stay-at-home wife trumps the popularity of her
soon-to-be-divorced husband Kris Benson, who pitches for the Baltimore