Sunday, February 26, 2006

Daaaaa Light Switch?

Vince Young, an almost certain top five pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, pulled off an impressive feat at the NFL Combine this past weekend, as he scored a 6 on the Wonderlic Test. For those of you who don't know what the Wonderlic Test is, it is a 50 question test given to all NFL draft prospects that is suppose to be similar to an IQ test. ESPN has some sample Wonderlic questions here. To give you a sense of how pathetic Young's score is for a quarterback, the previous lowest known score was a 10 by Michael Bishop and Jeff George. And the score correlates to an IQ score of 72, which puts him in the Forrest Gump range in terms of IQ scores.

It makes you think how the hell did Vince Young did remain eligible for three years at Texas. I mean, I know Texas isn't exactly known for its strong academics, but even underwater basketweaving sounds a little too advanced for Vince. Sean at Kelly Green has come up with one possibility. This score also makes me wonder how is he going to pick up an NFL offense. If Vince can't figure out that if you buy 4 writing pads at 21 cents each, you will need 84 cents, how is he going to know what routes his receivers are running at I Y-Motion 245 H-Swing.

Einstein he is not.

UPDATE: The House Rock Built has gotten its hands on the copy of Vince Young's Wonderlic Test.

The First Verbal

National Signing Day for the Class of 2010 occurred just mere weeks ago, yet Charlie Weis is already working full steam ahead to the Class of 2011 and this past Friday, Weis got his first verbal commitment, Kerry Neal, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound defensive end/tight end from Bunn, North Carolina. Not much is known about Neal by the recruiting services and most college programs outside of the North Carolina area, as the only schools who had interest in Neal to this point were Wake Forest and East Carolina.

While the lack of interest from marquee schools in Neal might seem concerning at first glance, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, we are extremely early in the recruiting process and many coaches have just began to look at the tapes of the upcoming recruiting class. Two, Neal plays in the middle of nowhere North Carolina, so it shouldn't be surprising that a program like Florida or Michigan has yet to come knocking at his door. You can draw some parallels to the recruitment of Neal to the recruitment of Rasheon McNeil. Like Neal, McNeil played in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina and was not as well known as guys like Darrin Walls or Myron Rolle, but Weis saw something in the tapes of McNeil and offered him a scholarship. Then when McNeil was given a chance in the spotlight at the Army All-American game, he was dominant and had Urban Meyer trying to steal him away to Florida. Neal obviously showed Weis something special in his tapes to make Weis leave a message for his coach at 5:30 in morning to let Neal know that he was offering a scholarship. Hell, I'm impressed that Weis is looking at game films at 5:30 am. The only thing the last regime did at 5:30 am was starting a round at the Warren Golf Course.

As for where Neal will play, he will either be a speed rusher defensive end or an outside linebacker. He did have over 100 tackles last season at defensive end which is just ridiculous, though if he were to play defensive end in college, he is going to have to bulk up at least 15-25 pounds.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Freedom of Speech is on the March...Off a Cliff

The politically correct thought police is having a banner week. First, British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison in Austria after pleading guilty to charges of denying the Holocaust. While Irving's point of view is wrong and down right offensive, the thought of someone going to prison over this is quite shocking. That's something you expect in countries like North Korea, Iran, China, Cuba or Syria but not Austria.

The politically correct thought police also won a victory in Boston this week as Harvard President Lawrence Summers was forced to resign, after he remained under constant fire from left wing wacko professors in the Arts and Sciences faculty since last year after he made comments that innate gender differences may explain why there's more men than women in the science and math fields. I generally try to refrain from name calling in my posts, but left wing wackos is the only way to describe these professors who believe that Summers is unfit to be the President of Harvard only because he has a different (i.e., conservative) point of view. I think this intolerance to alternative viewpoints really meshes well with the idea of academic freedom and academic exploration that's suppose to take place at college campuses. Left-wing attorney and Harvard graduate Alan Dershowitz has an excellent editorial in the Boston Globe on resignation of Summers.

When you add these two stories along with most newspapers refusing to run the controversial Danish political cartoons of Mohammed, it makes me wonder if we've become increasingly intolerant of free speech.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Anti-Arab Paranoia

Quite a stink is being raised by Congressmen and Senators from both sides of the aisle on President Bush's decision to allow shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to be run by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The objections raised by Senators and Congressmen to having shipping operations at these major ports run by a UAE company reeks of anti-Arab paranoia. I don't recall Senators or Congressmen howling when these port operations were being run by a British company. In addition, it would be one thing if the port operations were being taken over by Iran or North Korea or some other country that wishes us ill. However, the UAE is one of our strongest allies in the Arab world. Not to mention, the U.S. has previously sold highly sophisticated F-16s jets to the UAE , and if we can trust that they're not going to use our own military technology against us, I don't think we have to become all paranoid that once we allow an UAE company to run the ports that the terrorists are going to leave a nuclear weapon in some shipping container the next day. That being said, I second the thoughts of Will Collier, that the company should be carefully vetted, but I would say that about any company the U.S. chose to run the port operations.

A couple more things to keep in mind about the ports being run by an UAE company. The UAE company will have NOTHING to do with the security of the ports. That responsibility will remain with the U.S. Coast Guard, and the various state port authorities. Furthermore, all this contract with the UAE company grants is that they will be the company that will be able to competitively bid for contracts to handle cargo going on to or coming off of ships at these six seaports. Most of that labor of loading and unloading ships will be handled by locally based union labor, so its quite a stretch to say that port operations will be taken over by foreigners.

I hope everyone takes a few deep breaths about this situation rather than further alienating ourselves from the Arab world.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This Was Inevitable

The Dick Cheney Hunting Game(via Instapundit).

How is This Not in America?

From the USA Today:
If you're thirsty and want to grab a Coke while filling up at the gas station across the street from Oval Lingotto, home to Olympic speedskating, you're out of luck. Next to the motor oil and brake fluid, however, you can feed 10 euros (about $12) into the vending machine for Extasy d'Amore or some similar DVD title.
America is suppose to be the greatest nation on the planet and the Italians beat us to the punch with porn vending machines. What the hell man? This needs to be rectified ASAP! The hell with the Christian Right.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What Did the White House Know and When Did They Know It?

I have to say, I have been amused by the breathless coverage of Dick Cheney's hunting accident, seeing headlines like this and this. You would have thought that he crashed his car in a body of water and then left his companion in the car while he fled the scene. Hunting accidents happen every day and the last time I checked, accidentally shooting someone is not a criminal offense. And trying to equate not hearing about a hunting accident involving the vice-president for 15-20 hours to Watergate or Chappaqquidick is down right laughable. MSM, save your rage for Congress' inability to have some semblance of a budget or the struggles in Iraq or the world community's inability to deal with the Iran problem or health care in this country becoming increasingly unaffordable, not whether the Vice-President instantly tells the media that he accidentally shot someone while hunting. Focus on, you know, issues that actually matter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What the Hell?

Generally, when the Bears hire a position coach, I have little to say because I've never heard of the guy, but today is an exception, as the Lovie Smith hired Steven Wilks to be the new secondary coach. Wilks, as most Irish fans don't wish to recall, was the Notre Dame secondary coach under Tyrone Willingham in 2004, a season where Notre Dame finished 109th in the nation against the pass and the corners couldn't cover a receiver with two broken legs. Wilks worked his magic as the Washington Huskies secondary coach under Willingham this past season where the Huskies finished a vaunted 106th in the nation against the pass. To put it nicely, this is an atrocious hiring and they might as well have hired me to be the new secondary coach.

The Ultimate Match-Up

So who is the biggest American badass: Chuck Norris or Jack Bauer? This website explores the possibilities and provides answers to common everyday problems like a messy roommate from the perspective of Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer. Check it out!

Valentine's Day

My least favorite holiday of the year is today. I hate Valentine's Day for two reasons. One, it is the ultimate Hallmark holiday. Second, and most importantly, Valentine's Day is a divisional holiday. There are the haves, those with a significant other to celebrate Valentine's Day with a candlelight dinner, and the haves not, those without a significant other, who spend their Valentine's Day like any other day, alone, eating Ramen Noodles for dinner (ok, maybe a little overly dramatic, but you get the picture). No other holiday is like this. Everyone at Christmas gets to celebrate the birth of Jesus if they want to. Everyone at Veteran's Day can take time to remember those who have served in the armed forces. The list goes on and on. Tomorrow is going to be a much better day.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An Early Nominee for Worst Mother of the Year

Brain-dead pop singer Britney Spears was seen recently driving with her infant son, Preston, on her lap. While 99.9% of people would agree that is a really, really, really dumb idea, Spears has an explanation, I guess, for this:
"I was terrified that this time the physically aggressive paparazzi would put both me and my baby in danger. I instinctively took measures to get my baby and me out of harm's way..."
Yes, her son will be so much safer from that damn paparazzi if he was on her lap instead of in a child safety seat. Dumbass! With mothering like that, Preston is well on his way to being in drug rehab by age 12.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Will the Democrats Ever Learn?

Well apparently at the Coretta King funeral today, the speakers decided to take some pot shots at the policies of President Bush instead of focusing on the life of Coretta King. Just a few years ago, the Democrats decided to make the funeral of Senator Paul Wellstone into a political rally and end result was another Republican in the Senate chamber. While the speeches by President Carter and Rev. Joseph Lowery may not have a negative effect on one particular race like the Wellstone fiasco, I seriously doubt that their comments are going to win any additional Democratic votes. To think, the Republican Party has not been this vulnerable in years, yet the Democrats seem to be openly trying to remain the minority party.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl Thoughts

Super Bowl XL is in the books and here's my thoughts on it...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....wait what? The Steelers won? Well congratulations to Domer Jerome Bettis. Way to go out on top. While the game may have sucked at least the commercials were pretty funny. My personal favorite was a commercial for Ameriquest where a woman is trying to get out of her seat on an airplane and there's sudden turbulence and she gets caught in a compromising position with the guy sitting in the aisle seat. What was your favorite commercial?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Recruiting Wrap-Up

This was probably one of the most relaxing national signing days in recent memory. Usually Notre Dame is scrambling at the last minute to sign four or five players, so they have more than 10 freshman on scholarship, but this year the recruiting class was set in mid-January when uber-offensive tackle Sam Young became the finally Notre Dame verbal commitment. Here's the breakdown by position of the new members of the Fighting Irish.

QB: Zach Frazer and Demetrius Jones
HB: James Aldridge and Munir Prince
FB: Luke Schmidt
TE: Paddy Mullen and Konrad Reuland
OL: Sam Young, Eric Olsen, Chris Stewart, Dan Wenger, Bartley Webb and Matt Carufel
WR: Robby Parris, Richard Jackson, Barry Gallup and George West
DL: John Ryan and Kallen Wade
LB: Morrice Richardson and Toryan Smith
CB: Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil
S: Sergio Brown, Jashaad Gaines, Leonard Gordon
K: Ryan Burkhart

The first thing that strikes me about this class is that other than defensive line, Notre Dame was able to address all of its needs. They had almost zero depth on the offensive line and Charlie Weis goes out and signs 6 guys. They also needed help at quarterback with Brady Quinn graduating next season and Weis got two outstanding quarterbacks in Frazer and Jones. I especially like how these two quarterbacks are a little bit different in style with Frazer being the classic drop back passer and Jones being the dual threat guy, which gives some nice balance to the quarterback position. For anyone who has watched Notre Dame for the past two seasons, you know the secondary play has been quite bad, and Charlie Weis was able to address that by getting two of the top cornerbacks in the country and getting one of the best safeties in the country in Sergio Brown. An excellent job done by Weis and his staff. But the key for the long term success of this program is that Notre Dame is going to have put together classes like this next year, the year after that and so forth. There's no question that Weis realizes this as he's already hit the ground running with recruiting for next season, as Notre Dame has already had it's junior day.

Now let's take a look at this class by the numbers. There is 9 Gatorade State Players of the Year (Penn State and USC had the next highest with 2). There is 12 U.S. Army All-Americans. There is 5 Parade All-Americans. This class was ranked by the recruiting services anywhere from #3 (Tom Lemming) to #8 (Rivals) in the country. Yeah I guess with all those high academic standards you just can't recruit good football players to come to Notre Dame anymore.

Finally, in Blue-Gray Sky's excellent recruiting wrap-up, they pose three questions: Biggest Get, Biggest Miss and Class Sleeper. Here's my 2ยข to those three questions.

Biggest Get: Sam Young. I would like to select all six of the incoming offensive linemen, but since I can select only one, I'll select the best of the bunch, Sam Young. Notre Dame desperately needed offensive linemen and they were able to snag the best offensive tackle in the country. Young should definitely see some playing time next season and by his sophomore year he should be anchoring that offensive line.

Biggest Miss: I'm with Blue-Gray Sky on this one. Gerald McCoy, hands down. Defensive line has to be Charlie Weis's number one priority for next year's recruiting class.

Class Sleeper: George West. Games are won and loss with special teams and George West is a dynamite return man. He's lightening fast. He returned 7 kicks for touchdowns this past season (4 punts and 3 kickoffs). Along with returning kicks, I expect to see West in the backfield and line up at wide receiver. West should be Notre Dame's version of Dave Meggett. It doesn't hurt either that West is already enrolled at Notre Dame, which should give him ample opportunity to see the field often his freshman year.