As the lightning horn blew Tuesday afternoon, signalling the end of post-practice on the field, T.Y. Hilton led the receivers in a running cheer to the locker room. Various coaches similarly scurried across the parking lot into one of the stadium meeting rooms for a compliance meeting. Especially these days, no coach wants to take the chance of skipping those.
Around football's house, everybody's pretty much in excited idle in wait for Thursday's run out of the tunnel. Not that practice was flat (the parts we media are allowed to see), but there's been a sense of "let's get it going" for a week. This is one area on which players and media mind meld. We're all sick of no games. Coaches, of course, always would love one more practice. Just one more, just an hour so they can cover some minor detail that'll wind up being subatomic in its significance to winning or losing compared to, say, the fact that they might be athletically inferior/superior in 10 different matchups.
Wesley Carroll, T.Y. Hilton and Mario Cristobal said the predictable things in Tuesday afternoon's last-availability-before-the-game conference. Carroll spoke with a quiet confidence, as he has all preseason. It's much more matter-of-fact confidence than "swagger." Hilton was modest, Cristobal tried to say something without giving away anything. I presume he was the same in Spanish....
By the way, if you're an expert on a program with a lower rung football team, you can make enough in legalized betting to keep the tooth fairy for sharks in business. FIU's a 14.5-point favorite on North Texas. Reasonable. The total score over/under is 53.5. Reasonable, but risky. 53.5? Between two running teams...at a level where the clock stops after each first down...in which the better defensive team gave up almost 170 yards per game on the ground last season?Changes on the most recent roster from the roster through most of training camp: Off are freshman safety Lyndon Edwards from Northwestern High; freshman offensive lineman Richard Reay from Tampa Robinson; senior running back Torrence Seymour from Miami Varela; senior defensive lineman Jeremy Jermin from Brooklyn and Nassau Junior College, where Eddie Murphy went "for two weeks" he cracked in a Saturday Night Live moment. Redshirt senior Kicker/punter Michael Cal now wears No. 47. Redshirt senior linebacker Christopher Edwards wears No. 56; freshman linebacker Kelby Maynor has No. 57; junior offensive lineman Paul Lungren is No. 62; freshman defensive lineman Lars Koht is No. 74. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Jordan White is now No. 77.
Texas A&M's saying it didn't send a withdrawal letter to the Big 12. Sort of like saying "I haven't called a lawyer yet" after you've asked to see other people and made a very public pass at the hot, rich neighbor. Whatever. The money's still on the Aggies to be the first domino to fall.
The Sun Belt coaches, for the most part, talked around conference realignment and what it means to the Sun Belt on the conference call Monday. Todd Berry of Louisiana-Monroe said, "I don't think we're looking at a dramatic impact on the Sun Belt at all." Troy's Larry Blakeney said, "I don't know where the chips will fall. The only thing any of us in the Sun Belt are looking for is an automatic bid (to a BCS bowl)" whether by merger with another conference or some other route.
As I've written in one comment and two blog posts, from talking to a few folks, I see FIU in Conference USA in the not-too-distant future. If the big boys decide to steroid up in size, C-USA will look for a similar-sized partner with which to combine school mass.
That's about it for tonight. Be back Wednesday afternoon/evening with the season advance post.