Sunday, August 30, 2009

No Bad Boys Reunion At FIU

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Is Bill Laimbeer NBA coaching material?
Thanks to Minnesota Timberwolves Coach Kurt Rambis, we'll find out. Laimbeer's former NBA nemesis did what Joe Dumars wouldn't do and that's give the former bad boy a job at professional basketball's highest level in the coaching ranks.
Laimbeer should also thank Charles Barkley with an engraved Christmas Card for his endorsement and ending his frustration because Barkley felt that he would be an excellent coach and deserved a chance due to the fact that he has an excellent basketball mind.
To win three championships in seven years with the WNBA's Detroit Shock is a nice accomplishment. Winning a championship at any level is something that no executive should overlook.
One Minnesota player who should benefit by Laimbeer's presence is 6-10, 260 pound Kevin Love. This kid will work with one of the most hated players in NBA history and will now get a chance to work with him and develop an inside game. Laimbeer was not only a fine outside shooter but excellent defender and rebounder.
Love may end up changing his name to "Kevin Hate" once Laimbeer gets through transforming him into a hardnosed player. If Love wants a little insight as to the type of player and person is, guard Chucky Atkins, a former Piston found out first hand being in the Detroit organization, who got to know Laimbeer as a broadcaster.
But I do give Rambis a lot of credit for making this hire. He put his personal feelings aside to work with a guy that could indeed make him a better coach.
Rambis also hired former Sacramento Kings Coach Reggie Theus as an assistant. These three coaches were outstanding players in the NBA and will have little trouble commanding respect from this young team.
For Minnesota fans, it's been an interesting few weeks as the Vikings signed long time Green Bay Packers rival Brett Favre to attempt to lead them to a Super Bowl.
Is Minnesota big enough for Favre and Laimbeer? We'll find out.
The University of Minnesota turned out to be a good fit for former Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith, who has compiled a 42-25 record with the Gophers in two seasons and isn't working in the Wildcats pressure cooker where he was 263-83 in 10 years with a national title.
This area will have plenty of great basketball minds.
Ironically, Laimbeer's Shock assistant and fellow bad boy Rick Mahorn was selected by the Timberwolves in the expansion draft and never played a minute in the Twin Cities. But for Laimbeer, there must be a sense of relief that even the worst personality on the planet had at least a few admirers to get him back in the NBA just weeks before training camp for the 2009-2010 season.
There was a time when Laimbeer used to have court side seats at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Now he'll have a different vantage point on the visitors bench and the first time he'll occupy a seat is a pre-season game Oct 22. You can bet he won't get a Valentines Card from the Pistons fans when the Timberwolves make their lone regular season appearance at the Palace on February 16th.
But with all due respect, Laimbeer should get a warm reception. It's not like he didn't want to work for the Pistons. The Pistons simply didn't want him roaming their sidelines in street clothes. I'd be curious to see what signs are made and to see how he's treated.
Again, Bill, you should get together with Barkley because he's probably the best friend you never thought you'd have. You can also give an assist to ESPN's Outside The Lines for making your coaching job struggles public. The Timberwolves had to be watching that segment and made a few calls to Brenden Suhr and Barkley thus you're back in business. You should be thankful that working at ESPN on NBA telecasts showed your intelligence off the court.
If Michael Vick can get a fresh start in Philadelphia for dogfighting, then you deserve a chance to help the Timberwolves finally achieve long term success on the floor. But whatever you do Bill, don't mention the fact that Notre Dame ended UCLA's record 88-game winning streak. Kevin Love will hate you for that then again, if you make him an All-Star and NBA Champion, he might let that slide.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

Sports Opinions To Think About....

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH



1) It would be amazing if Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky would have played during the "Original Six" era facing his idol Gordie Howe on a regular basis. Would Gretzky have scored a record 894 goals in 20 seasons? I doubt it because these teams faced each other so much therefore there was no need to watch film or video. In many cases, these teams played back-to-back games on successive nights. I believe Gretzky would have lit the lamp 600 times. Like so many legends during Howe's era, Gretzky would have been a part of the "Gordie Howe Hat-trick" (goal, assist, and fight). He would have been the recipient of Howe's elbows like I was in this photo taken at the Pontiac Silverdome with Howe and Detroit Lions legendary broadcaster the late Bob Reynolds at www.scottsports33.com



2) Speaking of longevity, NASCAR's Mark Martin appeared in his 1000th National Touring Event Saturday August 22nd at Bristol Motor Speedway. Even though Martin hasn't won a championship or Daytona 500, the Arkansas native has won the respect of his peers and compassion of his fans. He did win the pole for this year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis and finished second at the famed race track.



3) It would be amazing if the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Texans reached the playoffs. These are the only two teams in the four major sports that haven't participated in the postseason. During the past two seasons, the Texans have finished 8-8 under Coach Gary Kubiak while Bobcats boss Larry Brown had Charlotte in the playoff hunt during the 2008-09 season.



4) The only way we'll ever see a Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson fight is in video games. I can only imagine how much the pay per view cost would be if Ali would have battled Tyson in his prime. If the fights would have been as great as the three Joe Frazier/ Ali contests, ESPN Classic would have plenty to show. I do believe that Ali would have outclassed and outsmarted Tyson as he did when he won the heavyweight title from a brawler named George Foreman in an eighth round knockout on Oct 30, 1974 during what was known as "The Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire. Ali used his famous "Rope A Dope" to wear out Foreman and would have duplicated that strategy against Tyson.



5) Now that I'm in the video game twilight zone about match ups we wish we could have seen, lets add another one and that's Foreman versus Mike Tyson. When Foreman entered the Ali fight, he was 40-0. When Tyson lost to 42 to 1 underdog Buster Douglas, on February 11, 1990, he was 37-0. I believe that the 6-3 1/2 Foreman would have destroyed Tyson, who was 5-11 1/2 because of his four inch height advantage and relentless power. Foreman knocked out past heavyweight champions Frazier and Ken Norton in two rounds. I don't think Tyson would have lasted four rounds against Foreman.


6) Ozzie Guillen managing against the late Billy Martin would have been fun to watch. I've always thought of Guillen as the Latin version of Martin because if a pitcher threw at either of these managers players, they'd have been ordered to retaliate. Martin was never afraid to get in his own players face. Just ask Reggie Jackson when they were both with the New York Yankees. Guillen barks at his players when they make mistakes plus he's colorful with the media. Martin and Guillen won championships with the Yankees and White Sox as managers. The closest we have to a Martin versus Guillen is Ozzie facing Lou Piniella's Cubs. Piniella played for Martin with the Yankees and learned how to manage from Billy. Piniella's antics to get ejected are similar to Martin's and Lou did manage the Cincinnati Reds to a championship.


7) Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton should ease off the criticism of his old team and accept the fact that Brett Favre has a chance to do something he wasn't able to do and that's win a Super Bowl in the Twin Cities. Tarkenton couldn't win the big game with talented running back Chuck Foreman and the "Purple People Eaters" defense. But if Favre makes the most of rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin and star running back Adrian Peterson, it could be a great ride in the State of 10,000 Lakes. If Favre still has the passion to play, then more power to him. The Vikings and the NFL will gain more revenue in jersey sales and Favre will put people in the seats during a slow economy. Favre's consecutive games and total yards records will be tougher to break. I wish him well.


8) The NCAA's decision to have teams shake each others hands before games makes me realize that this organization is made up of a bunch of clowns. We all know by now that they can't even determine their national championship on the field with the lack of a playoff system or the worst case scenario by adding another game and creating their own version of a final four. With all the rivalries in college football, can you imagine Michigan/ Ohio State, Florida/Florida State, Texas/Oklahoma, and Notre Dame/ USC. I can't see new Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin embracing the Gators before a game that the Gators would want to win 100-0 since Kiffin has done a tremendous job angering Gator Nation by accusing them of recruiting violations, when in retrospect, it was Kiffin who didn't know the rules. I have no problem with sportsmanship! But this is unrealistic.


9) Seattle Mariners Skipper Don Wakamatsu should get strong consideration for Manager of the Year. Last season, Seattle finished with a 61-101 record and finished the year 39 games behind AL West winner the LA Angels. By the time of this post, Seattle is 68-62 and nine games back behind the Angels. The return of Ken Griffey Jr. was a great move at the gate to bring home the greatest player in franchise history. To date, Griffey Jr. has 14 homers and 625 in his career.


10) How much stature does the No. 9 have in Detroit? Consider the fact that Gordie Howe wore it with the Red Wings and it's retired at Joe Louis Arena. Now Detroit Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford is wearing it. This is pressure!


Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his web-site is www.scottsports33.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is Bill Laimbeer NBA Coaching Material?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH



When I see Charles Barkley endorse Bill Laimbeer as a potential head coach, "My Wheels Start Turning" as to why a man with two NBA Championships as a player and three more as head coach of the WNBA's Detroit Shock isn't receiving much consideration getting NBA interviews.

There is no doubt that Laimbeer has done an outstanding job making enemies in the league. He's been in altercations with current and former executives & coaches named Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Kurt Rambis when the Pistons/Bad Boys were winning titles during the "Bad Boys" dynasty.

The "Bad Boys" dynasty saw Bird fire Isiah Thomas when the pair were on the Indiana Pacers payroll. It was inevitable that Celtics and Pistons couldn't work together.

What amazes me about Laimbeer is I do believe he could have done a much better job than the Pistons recently deposed Coach Michael Curry.

Laimbeer is a fierce competitor and along with Thomas, they took it upon themselves with their strong personalities to lay down the law when Detroit acquired Mark Aguirre and made sure he wouldn't be disruptive in the locker room. The rest is history as Detroit defeated the LA Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers and won their championship rings.

The one thing I'll never forget about Laimbeer was when I made my lone appearance at the Boston Garden in January of 1990, I was in the Pistons locker room talking with Dennis Rodman.

On December 25, 1989, the same day former Tigers Manager Billy Martin was killed in an automobile accident, I was injured in a skiing accident on Magic Mountain in Vermont tearing the ligiments on my last run of the day.

A concerned Rodman was asking me why I was wearing a fiber glass cast on my left ankle. At that time, Dennis and I had a great rapport and he was always cooperative when I wanted to speak with him. Rodman treated me like a friend.

As I was speaking with Rodman, Laimbeer made some stupid wisecrack and I went ahead and told him, "Just because you can afford to make your car payment doesn't mean I can afford to make mine." Rodman quickly jumped in and told Laimbeer to get off my back and to leave me alone. Dennis and I then proceeded with my interview and I went on to talk to another player.

Right then and there, I knew like many people, why Laimbeer was hated. It's easy to tolerate a guy when a team is winning. But he made reporters jobs more difficult and as aforementioned, didn't get along with other players. Little did Laimbeer realize that dealing with the media is free advertising for the team. I certainly never questioned his basketball intelligence, but his public relations skills were horrible.

Laimbeer did a masterful job with the Detroit Shock by saving a franchise that was destined to fold to winning championships. Since I never covered the Shock, I'm unaware of his dealings with the media. I would think that they should have improved.

Laimbeer reminds me of former Tiger Kirk Gibson, who as a player was lousy with the media. But as Gibson retired and when he became a part of the media, he appreciated the other side and now as a coach is much better to deal with. I do believe that it's a matter of time before Gibson becomes a manager because the difference between him and Lambeer is he didn't burn bridges with other baseball people like Laimbeer did with basketball people.

Gibson's dramatic World Series homers with the Tigers in 1984 and LA Dodgers in 1988 will always be great memories on ESPN Classic. Laimbeer's elbows and fights on ESPN Classic won't capture the imagination of fans but will only infuriate them.

I'm still amazed that Joe Dumars hasn't hired him as an assistant coach unless the two discussed it but Laimbeer frowned on the idea. Again, I don't know so I don't want to be questioned for making false statements. But Dumars has been around all five of Laimbeer's championships so there is more to this than meets the eye.

When Thomas was running the New York Knicks, he did interview Laimbeer but hired Larry Brown. I'm surprised that Thomas didn't talk Brown into hiring Laimbeer as an assistant coach. He's always made sure that Brendan Suhr and Brendan Malone had jobs with him during his stops in Toronto and New York.

Dumars' former top front-office aide and now Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond had a chance to offer Laimbeer a coaching job of some sort when he hired Scott Skiles as his head coach. There was familiarity but nothing transpired.

Laimbeer did interview for the Minnesota Timberwolves head coaching job which did go to Rambis. I wouldn't have expected there to be a friendly reunion between these one time rivals unless Rambis won't hold a grudge against Laimbeer and utilize his basketball knowledge that he obtained from the late Chuck Daly. Even before Daly passed away, I'm surprised that Daly wasn't able to get Laimbeer more consideration for other jobs unless he thought his former center was happy working in the WNBA.

Nevertheless, the question remains, is there a future on an NBA bench for Laimbeer? I'd like to think there is since he does know how to win.

It's no secret that he plays mind games with his players but even the best coaches in sports like Bill Parcells, Pat Riley and many others do to keep their players off balance and focused.

But the NBA coaching ranks are very weird. I'm amazed that New York Knicks legendary Center Patrick Ewing hasn't been given the opportunity to be the head coach for this team since he has paid his dues as an assistant under Jeff and Stan Van Gundy and played under Riley. This is an injustice.

Until we find out how Ewing and Laimbeer would do as coaches, for the time being, we'll never know. Ewing is more media friendly but Laimbeer still has what Ewing was unable to accomplish in his career and that's win an NBA title.

The only thing I can say to Laimbeer at the moment is if there are no NBA jobs in the future, Bill you should rejoin Thomas at Florida International University (FIU) and learn how to teach because if there is a job that opens up with a bad team, you'll be forced to educate the younger players and develop patience.

It would be scary to think that FIU would be the amateur version of the "Bad Boys" with the boosters paying the fines because of rough play. Then again, they won't care if the team is winning, gets to the NCAA Tournament and becomes a Cinderella Story that bolsters recruiting and puts the university on the map.

It's time to start paying dues Bill like the rest of us who take entry level positions and work our way up. At least you know now through ESPN's "Outside The Lines" that while Barkley still might not like you, he does respect you and does believe you'll be a winning coach, thus you do have an unexpected ally.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

Saturday, August 15, 2009

FAU's Insurance Policy

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

If there was ever a time that I learned how valuable a backup quarterback was, the year was 1979.

The Detroit Lions had high hopes going into the season with Gary Danielson locked in as their starter. When the Lions lost Danielson and backup Joe Reed to injuries before the first regular season game, they were forced to use ninth round draft choice the late Jeff Komlo out of the University of Delaware.

Detroit finished the 1979 season with a 2-14 mark and a season filled with hope turned into a disaster.

While everything seems to be going fine with FAU quarterback Rusty Smith, Coach Howard Schnellenberger is pleased with his backup signal caller. Should Smith get sidelined, FAU has redshirt junior Jeff Van Camp as its "Insurance Policy"

The 6-5, 210 pound native of Gulf Breeze, Fla., saw action in three games in 2007 and four games in 2008. Much of his playing time occurred when the Owls were getting routed and Schnellenberger was looking to get him experience.

During spring practice, Van Camps performance reinforced the confidence his coach has in him as the Owls attempt to reach their third consecutive bowl game.

“In the spring game, Rusty was pretty good, Jeff was probably better and the other two were struggling,” Schnellenberger said. “I like the progress of Jeff Van Camp. He's had a very good spring and we know now we can win games if he were pressed into action.”

Van Camp said he's prepared to take over if necessary and just wants to be a major contributor.

“I feel I've done a good job this off-season learning the offense better,” Van Camp said. “I'm always excited about getting in the game but once I get in there, I'll try to do my best to get it done. I'm just trying to get better so I can start in 2010. My primary goal sir is to start in 2010 and if the coaches call on me then I'll do my best and be there to get it done for them. When I do get in the game I just want to make sure there is no drop off from Rusty to myself, keep the game going and keep winning for the team.”

The History major said he's learned this spring to “Be a little bit more confident on the field, know the offense, just have fun and just make the plays. The only goals we have as a team this year is we're playing some pretty good teams so we just want to go out there and do our best and hopefully, we can win.”

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

FAU's Jason Harmon Is 100%

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When FAU senior tight end Jason Harmon was injured on the first play in spring practice in 2008 on the track and field, it was a silent moment.

After practice, Terry Mohajir, Associate Athletics Director External Relations and I walked off the field and I let him know my feelings disliking spring practice scrimmage because of the fear of a major injury could impact the following season. Mohajir still defended the benefits of having the spring game as he should because he felt it was a good way to market the program and did say that injuries can happen anywhere. While that may be true, to this day, I still bite my nails and chew my lip watching these games.

Nevertheless as we approach the 2009 season, Harmon was redshirted last year and he is back after tearing his (ACL) and meniscus. He ended up spending hours in the training room during his rehabilitation.

In two years, the 6-3, 215 pound native of Tampa, has 89 receptions for 1,086 yards and seven touchdowns.

My memories of Harmon's 2007 performance was watching him hurdle over tacklers gaining the extra yards. Now FAU fans will have a chance to see him barrel through them again.

Harmon is glad to be back for his senior year as he and Smith look to have excellent seasons in their final campaigns.

“A lot of people are grateful that they moved the spring game to our regular practice field because on the turf field, you may run faster on it but there are a lot of injuries on it because cleats get stuck,” Harmon said. “It was rough last year and I felt helpless at all of the games watching them knowing I can't do anything about it. I wanted to so bad though.”

Harmon did have the opportunity to travel to the Motor City Bowl in Detroit on Dec 26, 2008, but decided it was in his best interests not to participate.

“I wasn't going to ruin my year of eligibility but I went as an equipment manager,” he said. “I didn't do much with the team until the day of the game.”

The Public Management major said the he's looking forward to his final hurrah with his quarterback.

“Hopefully, this is our big blowout year for Rusty and I, “ Harmon said.”We have a lot of seniors on this team as far as offensive starters. Hopefully this is the year we go undefeated.”
Harmon said the thing he tried to accomplish in spring practice is “I'm just trying to get my timing back with Rusty and make sure everything is all right with that. I tried to work all the kinks out since I missed a year. I think I'm 100% healed and my knee is stronger than it ever was.”

Coach Howard Schnellenberger is pleased to have Harmon back.

“He's an experienced player and he'll be ready for the opening game,” Schnellenberger said. “I expect him to be back to the level that he was. The difference is now is he has two teammates that are right in the same category with him. Each of them do something better than the other. If you add up their different skills and divide by three, they're about equal.”

Outgoing President Frank T. Brogan said that the rewards outweigh the risks when evaluating the need for the spring football games.

“Yes, Jason Harmon was a great illustration of somebody who went down in spring who was out all season,” Brogan said. “But coaches will tell you that even Jason Harmon is going to come back a better man. He has had a marvelous spring, he's looked loaded and ready for this year.

“So even though we missed him last year, no doubt about it, all the additional days that came along with spring practice will come along with summer practice, and even come along with having a bowl game, even gives you more preparation for the bowl.

“If you put all this together, all of these things far outweigh the element of risks associated with injury. Injuries are going to happen and sadly, it's a part of the game.”

You can bet Harmon is gearing up for the opener September 5th At 7 PM. When the Owls travel to Lincoln, Nebraska and face the high flying Cornhuskers where the passionate Big Red fans will be very visible and rowdy at Memorial Stadium.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brotherly Love or Hate?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

What does QB Michael Vick have to look forward to now that he's a member of the Philadelphia Eagles?

Here is a list of what the City of Brotherly Love has in store for this controversial athlete, who has turned the animal world upside down after serving prison time for bankrolling a dogfighting operation.

1) Eleven years ago, the Philadelphia fans booed the selection of QB Donovan McNabb. I wonder how many busts were drafted in that time frame with the most notable one being Ryan Leaf of the San Diego Chargers.

2) Wednesday night, Pedro Martinez won his debut 12-5 over the Chicago Cubs for the World Series Champions Phillies. I'd hate to see how he reacts when he loses some games especially against the hated New York Mets and gets booed all the way to Alaska.

3) Philadelphia fans are known for booing Santa Claus.

4) The Philadelphia Flyers won two Stanley Cups in 1973-74 and 1974-75 and were known as The Broad Street Bullies. Their rough house style of play carried over to a January 11, 1976 game against the Soviet Red Army team that walked off the ice in what was billed as "Conflict On Ice."

5) Old Veterans Stadium had jail cells in the building for fans that deserved to be disciplined because of bad behavior.

6) Legendary Phillies Hall of Fame Pitcher Steve Carlton refused to talk to the local media for many years.

7) Vick will be playing for a compassionate coach in Andy Reid, who believes in giving second chances. Reid has had to deal with the legal difficulties of his sons who were involved in drugs.

8) Vick will be teammates with the classy McNabb, who tolerated Terrell Owens turbulent behavior. McNabb played a huge role in recruiting Vick.

9) Former Detroit Lions Coach Marty Mornhinweg (5-27) has rebounded well with the Eagles and has become an offensive genius as offensive coordinator for Reid.

10) Vick will go from one bird nickname to another leaving the Falcons and starting over with the Eagles. Both teams will face each other on December 6, 2009 at the Georgia Dome and you can bet that Atlanta Owner Arthur Blank can take this sellout and media circus to the bank.

Although the headlines in Philadelphia are reading "Hide Your Dogs" & What Are You Thinking?"-----The Eagles front office knew what they were thinking and believe that Vick will be an impact player once the right role is created for him. The Eagles know that Vick holds the NFL record for rushing yards for a quarterback with 1,039 and opposing defensive coaches will be loading up on Tylenol.

If you're in the Stock Market, Tylenol would be a great investment.

The addition of Vick gives the Eagles another athletic quarterback if McNabb does get injured. In recent years, McNabb's body has taken a pounding with injuries and the team won't miss a beat with his mobility.

If the Vick experiment does work, Philadelphia will be singing Kate Smith's God Bless America.

In the meantime, the NFL's version of One Life To Live or General Hospital will add a new soap opera to the lineup titled "Will Michael Vick Take Advantage Of His Second Chance?"

Stay tuned and good luck Michael because you're playing in front of the most demanding, negative & positive fans who are passionate about their sports teams and will love you if you succeed or blast you if you don't. Even though the reaction appears to be 90-95% negative at the moment, that could change with the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 44 in Miami.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at Scottsports33@aol.com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stallworth's NFL Suspension Too Soft

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When I was at Super Bowl 43 in Tampa and covered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's State Of The League Address, it didn't take long after speaking & shaking his hand after the press conference that he's as shrewd as they come.

Allstate says drivers are in good hands and have used this marketing slogan to perfection. The NFL is in good hands with Goodell.

Thursday's ruling to suspend Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth for one year under the league's personal conduct policy appears to be the right decision for a man that plea bargained his way into getting just a 24 day jail sentence for DUI manslaughter that ended the life of Mario Reyes on March 14 in Miami with a blood-alcohol level of .126, above Florida's .08 legal limit.

If Reyes, a 59-year old construction crane operator had been killed by somebody else other than a professional athlete, the legal penalties would have been far more severe than they were in this case.

Unfortunately, the problem with today's athletes is they can buy there way out of trouble.

Even though Goodell has made the right decision on Stallworth, I personally believe that Stallworth should have been suspended for at least two years or even banished by the league permanently.

Stallworth, 28, killed another person and that's all there is to it! Goodell saw things this way and that's why he came down hard on Stallworth. Whether Stallworth ever plays in the NFL remains to be seen. Yes, he'll pay a huge price in the wallet for missing this season and like former Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick, his reputation is shot.

Vick is having a hard time finding work. But to Vick's credit, he served his jail time for dog fighting. What Vick did was wrong and having been a dog owner, killing animals is disgusting.

But Vick did pay the price financially and with his reputation.

One thing Vick does have going for him is Tony Dungy is mentoring him. I do believe that Vick does deserve a second chance and his work with animal groups including the Humane Society is a step in the right direction. Dungy will help him get back in the NFL.

As for Stallworth, he's a different story. I doubt that Dungy would mentor him. He killed a human being! Period!

Even though Goodell says the legal system's shorter sentence played no part in his decision and he punished Stallworth based on killing another human being, deep down inside, I do believe that the commissioner created his own justice. I feel the legal shorter sentence played a part in his tougher decision.

If there is something positive that should come out of Goodell's hammer, all players better beware that this sheriff is "Walking Tall" and isn't afraid to use his sledge hammer. Full 16-game season's will be lost.

I've always detested alcohol and Stallworth just reinforced why I can't stand this liquid killer.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

Monday, August 10, 2009

FAU QB Rusty Smith's Name Is Everywhere

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
FAU senior quarterback Rusty Smith seems to have his name everywhere.
He has been named one of 21 nominees for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The recipient of this award will be announced in November.
Smith is the current record holder for passing attempts (1,073), completion's (603), yards (8,197), touchdowns (62), and rushing and pass total yards (7,930).
He was the 2007 New Orleans Bowl MVP and the 2008 Motor City Bowl Offensive MVP. He is a two-time Palm Beach County Amateur Athlete of the Year and the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, as well as the 2008 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Smith is 15-11 over the last two seasons, helping guide the FAU football program to its first bowl game, as well as back-to-back bowl victories. FAU was the only team in the state to do so.
On Friday, Coach Howard Schnellenberger made certain that he would do everything possible to see Smith's name would be connected to the new on campus stadium in Innovation Village which is now expected to open in 2011.
“I'll lobby that if Yankee Stadium is the house that Ruth built, then Innovation Village is the house that Rusty Smith built,” Schnellenberger said. “There aren't enough words that can tell you what he's meant to building this football program.
“Rusty is at a point where he is fundamentally sound at everything he does. He just needs to work on refinements of what he's done.”
At the press conference, Smith tried to deflect all of the praise that he's been getting at the progress of the football program and focus on the upcoming season.
He noticed one major difference between the expectations of the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
“This year our team is used to the attention we're getting now then we were last year,” Smith said. When you're the favorite, you have a bullseye on your back and your game is circled. Being an underdog is something we like.”
When asked if his leadership role will increase because he's in his final season, Smith added, “Just because I'm a senior doesn't mean anything. I felt I was a leader when I stepped on campus. It's a character trait where you either have it or you don't. If you're a leader, you're a leader.”
There is only one thing left for Smith to accomplish at FAU. In April of 2010, he could be the first Owl to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

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