What to read while riding Usain Bolt to work

I'm kind of obsessed with the guy.

  Brian Bennett was able to take in a Louisville practice last night, and filed this report.

* I was focused mostly on the linebackers and receivers, two of the team's biggest questions marks this season. I've been hearing good things about the way junior-college transfers Jon Dempsey and Antwon Canady and freshman Dexter Heyman have been playing. All three of those guys look like real linebackers. They have good athleticism and run to the ball. But they and several others tonight had a hard time following their assignments, much to defensive coordinator Ron English's chagrin. It will be interesting to see if English decides to go with three guys who have never played a down of major college football as his starting linebackers. Miami transfer James Bryant got a lot of hype, but I've yet to see much from him either in spring practice or this fall.

It's like reading a report from inside the Supreme Court.

Bill Doolittle of LEO Weekly has a solid piece on the rise and momentary(?) collapse of Louisville football. It's pretty lengthy, so make sure you set aside at least three hours before clicking the link (Note: actual reading time may vary from that of author's).

  C.L. Brown takes a look at the Louisville secondary, and all is well until he gets to Latarrius Thomas.

Latarrius Thomas gives the Cards another option at safety back in the lineup. Thomas started the first two games of last season as a true freshman before a knee injury ended his season.

Thomas is a big hitter who forced a fumble and recovered one in his two games last year. Thomas isn't back to 100 percent yet, but "it will all come in time -- I've just got to go through it day-by-day."

LT can hit, and he did force and recover fumbles last year, but he started as a true freshman in 2006, and was a sophomore before getting injured a year ago.

  Did the NCAA completely botch the Mike Cook decision? It's definitely possible.

The Panthers played 27 regular-season games–nine non-conference, 18 in the Big East season. They competed in the Big East tournament, which counted as one game because any team could be eliminated the first day. They played four early games in the Hispanic College Fund Basketball Challenge, which counted as two under NCAA rules for multi-team events. The Panthers’ NCAA Tournament appearances does not factor in; postseason doesn’t count because there’s no expectation a team will make it. So as permitted by the organization’s rules, Pitt’s schedule officially consisted of 30 games last season.

If you count Cook as having played 11 games, he is not eligible for the waiver. Indeed, he took the court 11 times. There’s no disputing that. He played a full complement of minutes in every one of those games.

However, it seems curious for the rules to be different for a team and a player in terms of how the games are calculated. If those four games in the Hispanic College Fund tournament counted only as two on Cook’s record–as they did for Pitt to meet NCAA scheduling rules–he officially would have played nine games last season. He’d be at exactly 30 percent and eligible for the waiver.

That case was made to the reinstatement committee nearly two months ago. Its members apparently thought hard about this, because they did not issue an answer for quite a while. But they still said no.

“They say, ‘There may be merit to your case, but we can’t do anything about it,’ ” Dixon said.

The university was told it could attempt to change the rule through the NCAA’s legislative process.

Of course, by the time a new rule could be adopted, Mike Cook’s grandkids would be D-I prospects.

Pitt Blather is none too pleased.

  Speaking of the NCAA, it has agreed to re-hear former Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk's appeal for a sixth-year of eligibility. Mauk, who has had approximately 897 appeals rejected at this point, filed a lawsuit against the NCAA earlier this week.

Question: what the hell happens if he's re-instated? It'll be like Favre/Rodgers/McCarthy comes to Nippert.

  Card Game has the goods on ESPN's recent sit-down with one Robert Petrino. Lots of Louisville chatter. Lot less Falcons chatter.

  And lastly, Rick Pitino added to his coaching staff this week when he hired Matt Grady away from New Mexico State. Grady spent time at Murray State and Cincinnati with former Cardinal assistant Mick Cronin before his one season as an assistant under Marvin Menzies in Las Cruces.

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