Friday, January 25, 2013
Some thoughts from last night's gut punch in Tallahassee -- and man, was it an absolute gut punch:
-- We noted multiple times this week Brad Brownell's feeling that his team seems somewhat scared or uncomfortable in crunch-time moments. He said after the loss at N.C. State that he had to convince his guys they belonged in such a game, had to keep them from being almost surprised they were playing a supposedly superior team dead even.
Sunday night we saw some mental lapses late after the Tigers battled back to forge a tie on two occasions. And last night we saw some more of the same. K.J. McDaniels and Rod Hall just sort of froze up on that last possession coming out of the timeout. Brownell wanted one of them to drive, be the aggressor, score or draw a foul. Instead the ball was just passed around on the perimeter, leading to the flailing shot by McDaniels that didn't hit anything. Another miscue came earlier, when Devon Bookert nailed a game-tying 3 with 43 seconds left. Adonis Filer sagged down into the post when he wasn't supposed to, allowing Bookert a reasonably good look.
Regarding the failed final possession, Brownell said this after the game: "Somebody on the perimeter has to put their head down and go make a play. But we're not quite ready for all that."
-- It seemed this could be such an uplifting night after Jordan Roper, out of a timeout, peeled off a screen by Devin Booker, shot-faked and drained a jumper to give Clemson a 57-54 lead with 55 seconds left. But the Tigers just missed too many shots from outside in the second half. They were 0 for 8 from long range in the second half and finished 3 for 16 on the game. With 2:15 left, the Seminoles were sagging on the post and Hall was wide open for a top-of-the-key 3-pointer. He missed it, and when your point guard is unable to hit open shots from the perimeter it's going to be costly at times. It was just the third 3-pointer Hall has attempted this season in 522 minutes.
-- If this were a game not involving Clemson, I'd have turned it off early in the second half and most of you would've too. Not sure what compelled the refs to start calling it so closely, but the game disintegrated into a snail's pace with stoppages seemingly every trip down the court. Booker drew his second and third fouls with 17:50 and 17:35 to go. Landry Nnoko drew his fourth with 17:07 left, and Booker drew his fourth going for an offensive rebound with 9:26 on the clock. That, plus Milton Jennings also suffering from foul trouble, was a huge factor in the game because the Seminoles started attacking inside. That helps explain why FSU shot 52.4 percent in the second half from the field (11 of 21).
-- On Jan. 12, Jennings had a 21-point, 11-rebound night in a win over Virginia and afterward he called it an epiphany for him and said things were going to be different from that point forward. We now have a three-game cross-section to evaluate, and his forecast hasn't come to fruition. He's scored a total of 18 points over that stretch in 89 minutes, shooting 6 for 23. Last night he committed five of his team's 13 turnovers and was 1 for 7 from the field.
"We needed a third scorer tonight," Brownell said. "We couldn't find one."
-- Heck of an effort by Booker, who was really sick yesterday and gutted it out by scoring 15 on 7-of-10 shooting. The problem with his foul trouble, though, was that with Nnoko, Bernard Sullivan and Josh Smith in the game Brownell couldn't run as much of the offensive stuff he runs with his starters in there.
-- Clemson shot 10 of 15 from the line, and two misses ended up being pretty big. Booker couldn't convert a three-point play with 3:57 left and Clemson up three, and Hall missed one of two with 1:41 left and his team up three. On the other end, Florida State made 18 of 20.
-- This team needs some positive reinforcement that only winning can bring, and that's why last night's loss hurt so much. You have a double-digit lead in the second half, and you feel like you should win the game. You have the ball coming out of a timeout in a tie game with 23 seconds left, you feel like you should win the game. Tough defeat. Very tough.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
When the cameras panned to A.J. McCarron's girlfriend the other night, the natural reaction from, oh, 99.9 percent of male viewers went something like this:
Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit just happened to be speaking into microphones when they voiced their reactions.
It got a little awkward when Brent and Herbie wouldn't let it go, provoking a period of silence in which their producers probably said something like: "Dudes ... there's a game going on here."
But is it really that big a deal? Big enough to elicit an actual apology from ESPN?
“We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
It doesn't take long for stories like this to crumble into total absurdity, and you just knew it was only a matter of time before news outlets would start quoting people from Mars on the outrage of two men complimenting an attractive woman ... an attractive woman who, in addition to being the girlfriend of a guy who just won back-to-back BCS titles, is a former Miss Alabama contestant.
The New York Times found some journalism professor at Michigan State named Sue Carter who actually said this:
“It’s extraordinarily inappropriate to focus on an individual’s looks. In this instance, the appearance of the quarterback’s girlfriend had no bearing on the outcome of the game. It’s a major personal violation, and it’s so retrograde that it’s embarrassing. I think there’s a generational issue, but it’s incumbent on people practicing in these eras to keep up and this is not a norm.”
And then this:
“I think because sports has been such a male-dominated domain, he obviously felt license and privilege and he’s been able to do that for years. But the masculine aspect of sports is changing.”
The New York Times then managed to find another journalism professor, this one at Alabama:
Even on Alabama’s campus, there were those who felt Musburger went too far.
“Football is a male domain,” said Jennifer Greer, the chairwoman of the journalism department at Alabama. “And the role that women play even in the journalistic respect is in the supportive role, the mom, the hot girlfriend, the sideline reporter. They’re accepted in this world, but in particular roles. It reinforces this stereotype of the hot model girlfriend attached to a quarterback and the maleness of sports that is hard for serious female athletes.”
Goodness gracious. "Even on Alabama's campus, there were those..."
The more fair and accurate introductory paragraph would be: "Though almost no one in Tuscaloosa had a problem with the comments, we found another journalism professor who hates football to give us some quotes criticizing it."
Almost everything about college football coverage is catering to the male demographic. You think it's an accident that the army of camera guys at every game just happens to zoom in on the most attractive women in the stands during breaks in the action?
Katherine Webb didn't seem bothered at all about fulfilling the supposed "hot girlfriend" stereotype. And why would she? According to this article, she had 526 Twitter followers on Dec. 26 and had more than 148,000 on Tuesday. She considers herself a beautiful woman. She has put herself in competitions with other beautiful women. And now she's supposed to be offended because two announcers remark about her beauty on national television?
One of McCarron's teammates, center Barrett Jones, joked Tuesday in an appearance on CNN's "Starting Point" that he was jealous of Webb's sudden fame.
"Where's the love for the actual players?" he joked. "She is certainly very pretty. But I just think Brent needs to share the love a little bit, that's all I'm saying."
That's the right treatment on this issue. Laugh about it and move on.
The only "personal violations" that occurred Monday night occurred on the field, where Alabama violated Notre Dame so personally and thoroughly that announcers had to come up with something to talk about.