Sometimes when watching sports, the dream world that we all inhabit within the game is invaded by the problems of the real world. Such has been the case this week for Tampa Bay’s kicker Matt Bryant. Bryant and his wife lost their three month old son this week, as he died in his sleep in their home. The news obviously devastated Bryant, who is known throughout the league as one of the most charitable and giving players in the NFL. The funeral for his son was Saturday, but Bryant nevertheless chose to honor his son by playing in the Bucs’ game today against the Packers. As fate would have it, Bryant had a kick towards the end of the game to give his team the victory, and following the movie script, he nailed it. After the game, an emotional Bryant was given the game ball and his teammates surrounded him, giving him whatever emotional support they could. There are very few things in life that can be imagined to be worse than a parent losing their child and watching Bryant go through that today in public was difficult. However he faced the situation with the heart of a champion and was a winner today, regardless of whether his meaningless kick had been made or not.
To the news….
(1): The win by the Cats on Saturday over WKU was mighty impressive and ends Chapter One of the season. While a running theme of the early part of the season for UK in past years has been the loss of key players to injury, this season has seen far fewer injuries than usual. Nevertheless, after the first four games, some injuries linger. The most serious may be the sprained MCL sustained by Justin Jeffries against WKU. He is out against Alabama, but there is talk that it could be much more serious. I would expect more news later in the week, but Billy Joe Murphy and Brad Durham’s roles just increased. Micah may be out for the Alabama game as Coach Brooks today said he had deteriorated a bit since the game on Saturday. I spoke to Micah and he is hoping to play, but unsure what will happen. As for Randall Cobb, he will be out and Ricky Lumpkin will be a game-time decision.
(2): The talk throughout Big Blue land this week will be about how the Cats will fare against the #2 ranked Tide. I was disappointed to see Georgia come back on Saturday, as it gives the team some motivation for this week, which should be a crazy scene in Tuscaloosa. Much talk has already been generated about what chance the Cats have of winning and many optimists point to the Ole Miss-Florida game as proof the Cats can compete. I too believe they can compete, but the chance of winning is virtually nil. However, this is a positive situation for the Cats….they can play their first road game in the SEC in a tough environment, they arent supposed to win, yet they can still get the necessary maturity to help get ready for more winnable road games later in the year (Miss St and Tennessee). I see a good week for the Cats and a chance to show the nation that they are a team to be taken seriously. Bama fans however are the worst, so get ready for a lot of this:
(3): Someone not having a good week is Ashton Cobb, who lost his starting job early in the week and was then arrested on the weekend and charged with third degree terroristic threatening. All three charges against him are misdemeanors, but the story is picking up national attention, thanks in large part to Cobb’s quotations from “Batman” in his text messages and voice mails. As I wrote last night, Cobb has always been a very friendly, respectful guy and the news took virtually all of the media completely off guard. He is scheduled to have a disciplinary hearing on Monday and is currently suspended not only from the team, but from school as well. A tough situation for all involved and even worse that it will play out in public, with the national attention from the Alabama game now becoming part of the story.
(4): The other fallout from the weekend comes from the pickup basketball games in Memorial. For guys on the team, in my mind the story is the play of Donald Williams. With Boot Camp starting today, some guys slept walked through the proceedings, but Williams showcased some skills that illustrate why he was brought here to Lexington. He hit some good shots, nailed a few threes and didnt get beat as badly on the defensive end. It will be interesting to watch how things develop, because if he can continue to knock down shots, he will see time on the floor.
(5): While I was most fascinated by watching the Neck Beard play, the recruit talent that looked the best yesterday was Johnie Davis, a Freshman JC player for Vincennes in Ohio. Davis is from Canton, Ohio, where he spent most of his days at the Football Hall of Fame and breaking fools down off the dribble. He has impressive hops and was able to show some great skills as a point guard. Coming out of high school, he had offers from Lasalle and Louisiana Tech, but was not a high Division I team. However his high school coach compared him to Raymar Morgan (of Michigan State) and he looked very solid on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how his JC career progresses.
More throughout the day as we (1) move our attention to making fun of all things Alabama; (2) let you know about the ten finalists for “Who Wants to be a Blogger” (3) let you know which UK commitment took a picture and sent it to us specifically for the website and (4) make some suggestions for the new and improved Midnight Madness. Stay tuned…..