News out of Kamp Kragthorpe has been harder to come by than topless photos of Kremlin leaders, so I've spent the majority of this week living vicariously through the fans of other teams by following the practice reports of Cardinal opponents.
It's been an unsatisfying week.
The injury problems continue in Tampa where the single most important player to any one team in the Big East, Mr. Matt Grothe, has missed the last three days of practice and is listed as day-to-day with a hip flexor strain. USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory called the injury "a little tweak," but it was enough to keep Grothe on the sidelines during the Bulls' final scrimmage on Wednesday.
You may remember that because of his play at the beginning of last season, young Matt earned the nickname "Gunner" from me because I thought "Gunner Grothe" sounded like a name befitting a scrappy freshman QB who courageously leads his teams on late fourth quarter winning drives. You may also remember that Grothe's nickname was altered to "Chotch McBride" once he made some disparaging remarks about Louisville following his team's 31-8 defeat in The Oven last November. I bring this up so I can make the announcement that Matt Grothe's nickname slate is clean. Until he does something worthy of earning a new nickname, he is simply South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe who is day-to-day with a slight hip flexor strain.
How one handles a second chance can make or break a man young Matt. You think about that while shuffling through all that golden South Florida trim.
Kentucky held its final scrimmage of the summer on Tuesday, and the perpetually grinning Rich Brooks was pleased, and again highlighted the play of the special teams.
"It was a pretty good scrimmage," Brooks said. "I don't think it was quite as physical as Saturday's was as far as hitting, but there was a lot of good execution taking place. We made all of our kicks, even a 51-yarder (field goal by Lones Seiber), so that was encouraging."
He's also apparently serious about this whole Zipp Duncan starting at left guard deal.
In completely unrelated news, this may be the greatest video any human or alien (for you Darren Daulton) has ever created:
Greg Schiano announced the two-deep for Rutgers on Thursday, and there were few surprises.
Kevin Haslam held off all-everything freshman Anthony Davis (for now) for the starting right guard spot, while the bruising Chris Rudanovic won the starting tight end spot, despite being less athletic than some of his challengers. On defense, Damaso Munoz won the starting middle linebacker position by default, but is likely just keeping the spot warm for Ryan D'Imperio who won't be back until at least Oct. 6 (vs. Cincinnati) after breaking his leg in three places this spring.
Highly touted JuCo running back transfer Matt Asiata is still nursing a sprained left foot and has Utah fans nervous that he won't be ready for the Utes' Aug. 30 opener at Oregon State. If Asiata's foot does heal properly and he turns out to be the real deal, then things at PJCS on Oct. 5 could get interesting (what a worthless, vague statement, I actually wrote that with a straight face and now I'm punishing myself by not taking it down...and mocking it inside parentheses).
From the "I thought that happened like six days ago category" comes yesterday's news that Bill Stull has been named the starting quarterback at Pitt. If Stull can keep his momentum from the summer rolling into the regular season, then things at PJCS on Oct. 27 could get interesting. Son of a bitch.
With the quarterback job at UC looking more and more like it's going to belong to Ben Mauk, Josh Katzowitz takes a look at the other spots still up in the air with one week of practice to go. The most hotly contested position battles are on defense where Anthony Williams is fighting Cedric Tolbert for the free safety spot, and Andre Revels and Ryan Manalac are competing for the starting middle linebacker position. The center and right tackle positions on the offensive line are also up for grabs, but defensive coordinator Joe Tresey says that who starts and who doesn't isn't as important as the public makes it out to be.
"It's not who's starting and who isn't," Tresey said. "When you're on the field, it's your time to perform and make plays. Our philosophy is the next man in. The next man in better have his helmet strapped and be ready to go."
Bob Hertzel writes that Rich Rodriguez is inventing ways to get the ball into the hands of super freshman Noel Devine.
Connecticut's second leading tackler from a year ago, senior linebacker Ryan Henegan, injured his knee last weekend and will not start the Huskies' Sept. 1 opener at Duke. Randy Edsall has been mum on the topic of Henegan, but depending on the severity of his injury redshirt freshman Lawrence Wilson could be forced into a long-term starting role.
Murray State is also practicing.