Jim Delany defends “Legends” and “Leaders”; crickets still chirping

13 Comments

Rick Reilly once wrote a feature with the lead, “Evel Knievel tried to jump the Snake River Canyon. David Copperfield tried to make 747s disappear. I’m going to try to defend Lane Kiffin.”

Similarly, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is defending the conference’s decision to name their newly-created divisions “Legends” and “Leaders”, which as you might have read, weren’t exactly warmly received by … well … anyone.

The defense will fall on deaf ears. In fact, the backlash to the names could be measured as a couple of torches short of a blood-thirsty mob barreling in on Delany’s hilltop castle.

But the commissioner is confident in the decision.

“If people don’t embrace it [the divisional names] in the first hour, then maybe after 24-36 hours … or in a couple of years,” Delany pointed out. “Any time you have something new, it takes some getting used to.”

According to the article via the Chicago Tribune, “Geographical names such as “Great Lakes” and “Great Plains” would not have been accurate. Delany said league officials felt that names such as “Hayes” and “Schembechler” or “Grange” and “Griffin” would not have been “inclusive” to all 12 schools.”

Naming the divisions East and West would have been fine, but as we’re sure you’ve guessed by now, subtlety isn’t a part of the Big Ten mantra.

Delany also defended the new Big Ten logo, which received a similar stamp of (dis)approval.

“Every one of the professionals we interviewed from the West Coast to New York said we needed to move beyond that,” Delany stated. “The notion was that it distracts. The ’11’ was seen as transition, a little bit of a gimmick. It’s no longer about the number. It’s about the values and characteristics that the schools represent.”

“We’ve been down that road before. The (Big Ten) Icons created a lot of controversies on campuses. And when I’ve tried to develop a Big Ten-type Hall of Fame, (school officials) ask: ‘How many will I have? Who goes in first?’ I know us. I think what we did was right.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what Delany says to justify the decision. Right now, the names and logos are a hot (and laughable) topic. In time, though, they will become part of the lingo and people will either forget about them, or the whole situation won’t be such a big deal. 

Still, it doesn’t behoove Delany or the Big Ten to shove superiority and tradition down anyone’s throat.

That’s the SEC’s job.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

Getty Images
1 Comment

Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.

Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

Getty Images
1 Comment

The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

Getty Images
1 Comment

LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.