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Gilles, Griffin, Groza (golly!)

I began the day arguing the day camp merits of new skirts vs. old Gymboree shorts with my six-year-old. I'll end the day soon debating the merits of pomegranate margaritas vs. Long Island Iced Teas. In between, I was rippin' and runnin' so much -- from the Non-Gilded Panthers to a Southern States bodybuilder who once weighed 450 pounds and almost died to Brandon Marshall's subpeona -- that I didn't get to update this blog with a couple of pieces of news.

Gilles Dierickx, the 6-11 Belgian out of West Hills Chaminade in the LA area, made his committment to FIU official. There's one scholarship left for the 2011 class.

Isiah Thomas said in a statement released through the communications department, "His size and athleticism are impressive. He is the type of player who is not afraid to be aggressive down low both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. At 6-11, 240, we are happy to have Gilles as a member of the FIU family. He joins a great class in Joey De La Rosa (6-11, 240), KeDorian Sullivan (6-7, 185) and Tanner Wozniak (6-5, 185)."

Two 6-11 guys and two guys who are have either fast metabolism or a slow first step to the buffet...moving right along...

Kicker Jack Griffin has been named to the watch list for the Lou Groza Award, given to the top placekicker each year.

Once again, there's a college football best-of award that's an homage to an NFL great. As mentioned in the previous post, few wideouts in NFL history match up to Fred Biletnikoff. But as a college football receiver, Biletnikoff might not have even been the best productive slow wide receiver of the 1960s (see "future Dolphin Howard Twilley"). And, as for all-time, the only way he'd be at a table with, say, Michigan's Anthony Carter or Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers is if he was serving something.

Lou "The Toe" Groza picked up his nickname as a dependable booter for Cleveland and actually didn't like being known more for being a kicker than an offensive tackle. He played for Cleveland during their All-American Football Conferenc years, 1946-49. When the four-time AAFC champions moved to the NFL in 1950 along with the 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts, Groza added dependable kicking to the Browns' awesome offensive arsenal. He led the NFL in field goals four times in the Browns' first five NFL seasons. He retired after the 1967 season. Groza went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

Yet, that's pro football. Surely the Orange Bowl Committee, which gives out The Toe, could've honored one of the truly spectactular college kickers. Just in the old Southwest Conference from 1976-78, you had three kickers breaking records and collecting All-America honors -- Texas A&M's barefoot Tony Franklin, who nailed a then-record 65-yarder; Texas' Russell Erxleben, who beat his pal with a 67-yarder; and Arkansas' Steve Little, who tied Erxleben's record. A few years later in the Big Ten, Minnesota's Chip Lohmiller and Indiana's Pete Stoyanovich expanded the definition of "field goal range" to "on campus." Nevada's Marty Zendajas was money in his day.

Over on the court, the best college basketball player doesn't receive The Red Auerbach Award.

As it's Friday...


And while freshman Isiah Thomas endured his first Bob Knight practices at Indiana...


Still makes me wince...just like this one still makes me smile. Reminds me of the 1987 night they kicked against each other in the Metrodome. During the game, Baby Jessica got pulled from the well. 60,000 people roared for the saving of a child they didn't know existed two weeks before.





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