Of course, for entertainment purposes only
One of my favorite blog memories (what a sad, sad list to compile) was after last year's spring football game, when I ran into offensive line coach Greg Frey in a Wal-Mart later that night and he greeted me with a warm "You picked the wrong team." Looking over the spring game rosters, I'd picked Green, only to see White roll to a 36-10 victory. Surely, you remember the score, no?
The beauty of the spring game is that the actual outcome is so meaningless and generally random that I have no ethical qualms picking a winner. The coaches divvy up players with an actual draft, and they know far more about each player's strengths and weaknesses than I do (or you reading here, unless you're one of those coaches, wherein it's actually a tie). This year's game, with a nod to middle-school sandlot football with its "all-time quarterback," has a Gold team, a three-player special-teams squad comprised of kicker Mike Benzer, punter Ilia Petrov and holder Anthony Severino, who presumably will help out both squads.
So looking over the rosters, I have to say the White squad seems to have more of the key, core leaders and stars for this fall, enough so that if I had a 1-800 number or an early weekend morning radio program devoted to stone-cold spring game mortal locks, I'd have to go in that direction. "Hey, didn't you pick the team that lost by 26 last spring winning?" the first caller would say, and I'd ask Coach Frey if it's cold in Morgantown this time of year. Hey, I kid, I kid.
Here's arguably the top five names on the White squad's roster: quarterback Matt Grothe, linebacker Ben Moffitt, cornerback Mike Jenkins, defensive end George Selvie and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. That's not even getting to what look to be at least three starting offensive linemen and Aston Samuels, listed as the top running back on the spring depth chart. If I had a "board" like in the NFL Draft -- and let me be clear that I don't, beyond the random speculation here -- you'd think there's like seven of the top 10 players on that side. The Green roster has cornerback Trae Williams, three talented running backs in Ben Williams, Ricky Ponton and Mike Ford, some strong interior linemen to run inside with, and perhaps the biggest playmaking receiver in the game in Taurus Johnson. They arguably have a superior secondary, and two strong defensive tackles in Richard Clebert and Aaron Harris.
It's too much work to post actual rosters, which would allow you guys to speculate yourselves, but at least you have an idea going in, so if you should run into me while I'm shopping somewhere late after the game while you're carrying a dozen cans of baked beans, you can give me grief. Right?
-- Just a small note, but Jordan Heath, the older son of USF basketball coach Stan Heath, has started classes at Wharton High, where he's a freshman. Jordan will be playing basketball for one of the area's top basketball programs next winter, and Wharton coach Tommy Tonelli, the Times all-county coach of the year this spring, is a former USF standout and assistant coach. I don't want to leave Heath's younger son, 12-year-old Josh, out, in that he plays basketball as well. I just don't know where he's taking classes and I imagine my readers don't know enough about area middle-school basketball. The Heaths had also considered Tampa Prep and Tampa Catholic but ultimately wanted their children in public school. My wife taught in the Hillsborough County school system for six years, so I'm all for that.
-- I'll be back tonight with lots of random posts during the game, but I was able to catch up Friday night with Bill McGillis, USF's new senior associate athletic director for external operations. The Evansville athletic director won't start at USF until May 1, but he'll be at Saturday's game just to introduce himself to people. He's been a college AD for five years and he's only 44, something you don't hear about often. I'll have more on that later ... Here's hoping for good weather for the game tonight, if only because any rain would, of course, render my already vague predictions null and void.
-- This merits a headline of its own, and I'm behind on this, but Jessica Dickson has already been traded in her brief WNBA career. The Sacramento Monarchs, who took Dickson in the second round with what ended up being their only real draft pick, traded her to the Indiana Fever for a third-round pick in next year's draft.
"The 2008 WNBA draft is supposed to be the best and deepest draft in WNBA history," Monarchs GM John Whisenant told the Sacramento Bee. "We already had a lot of depth at Dickson's position and felt that this was a winning situation for all involved."
Let me get this straight: The Monarchs used their first pick in this year's draft to take someone at a position they had "a lot of depth at," so they can then deal their only rookie for a lesser pick in next year's draft? Considering what they did with this year's third-round pick, that's exciting for Monarchs fans, I'm sure. Both teams, by the way, went 21-13 last season and lost to the eventual WNBA champs, the Detroit Shock, in last year's playoffs, although the Monarchs were able to reach the league finals.