The Atlanta Braves opened up a new scaled-down version of Waffle House in Turner Field last month and the team has been scattering, covering, smothering, dicing and chunking opponents ever since. The hottest team in baseball and the No. 1 team in KSR’s heart has won 13 consecutive games since the franchise started slanging its waffles and hash browns at the ballpark on July 26. Another road win over Washington on Wednesday clinched a three-game sweep of the Nats and bumped the Braves into a 15.5 game lead in the NL East. Atlanta returns home next for a nine-game home stand with series against the 43-68 Marlins and the sub-.500 Phillies and Nationals. Waffle House better double its inventory.
Before all you Cincinnati fans head to the comments section to hate on the Braves, and I know you will, keep in mind that Atlanta travels to St. Louis later this month for four games against the Cardinals. Atlanta could do you a big favor in the NL Central race if you order your hash browns right. Also, don’t forget, we can hate the Cards together in baseball too, ya know.
And for you radio show listeners, yes, FEMA measures local disasters by calling the local Waffle House. It’s true.
Let’s get to the News and Views. I’m hungry all of the sudden.
The UK football team had its third practice under Mark Stoops on Wednesday and the most encouraging news of the day is how impressive some of the freshmen have been early in camp. Stoops said he’s very pleased with his new wide receivers and he singled out Jeff Badet as one of the guys who jumped out at him during Wednesday’s practice. “I just noticed him, just a couple balls,” he said of Badet. “He’s got some juice. He can run a little bit and he made a couple nice catches.”
Stoops was also high on Jaleel Hytchye. He said he thinks Jaleel is going to be a good player once he gets a little more work with the secondary. “I think he’s got the talent and I know he’s got the great ethic and he’s a great kid. I’m pleased with his talent,” he said.
Of course the quarterback situation was a hot topic after practice and will be until a starter is named. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said they were all “decent” on Wednesday and that’s he not concerned by Max Smith’s health. The concern with Smith, if any, is more about his history, nothing current, Brown said. The staff had Smith sit out the last week and a half of summer workouts so he’d be ready to go this week. “His reps are decent but we threw the ball more than most people so that’s why we’re gradually building him up,” he added.
As Nick pointed out in his practices report, the staff is splitting the team in half, on two different fields, to give each player as many reps as possible as they compete for starting roles. Stoops said the expanded practice is helpful because they have so many new guys and it’s important to maximize their opportunities so they can be seen. Coach Brown said it means a little more work in the film room for the coaching staff but the video crew is good and everyone is getting evaluated.
UK football still awaits a ruling on the academic standing of newcomers Nate Willis and Melvin Lewis. Willis recently finished all his summer classes and should receive his final grades by Friday at the latest. Lewis, on the other hand, has an English class through next Wednesday so it’ll be a little longer before we hear from him, but he tweeted that the class is going “very well.”
Willis is the most important of the two as he is expected to move into a starting cornerback spot as soon as he arrives on campus. Redshirting is a possibility for Lewis, especially considering his late arrival to campus, if and when he makes it to Lexington.
Congratulazioni and buona fortuna to Julius Mays, the newest member of Mobyt Ferrara in Italy’s Legda Due Silver. Mays agreed to a deal with the Italian basketball club and he is already listed as the team’s starting point guard. Ferrara could use his help, too; the team finished the 2012-13 season in 12th place in the 18-team league with a 16-18 record overall.
BustedCoverage.com broke open a could-be controversial story Wednesday morning when it discovered a large quantity of signed NCAA football memorabilia listed on one eBay store, The Hub Collectibles. Listed items include several Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, Braxton Miller and Teddy Bridgewater items, which makes you wonder how an autograph dealer could obtain so many signatures without there being any funny business going on. The University of Louisville was quick to respond, though, releasing a statement saying, “We have spoken with Teddy Bridgewater and we are comfortable that no violation has occurred.”
That may be true in Bridgewater’s case, but new leaked photos of Clowney signing 8×10 photos in a hotel room make it a little harder for the South Carolina star to shrug this one off.
The BustedCoverage.com photos, submitted by @ChesterKSR, ironically, are very similar to the photos of Johnny Manziel signing autographs in a hotel room, an odd place for a young student-athlete to sign photos and memorabilia in bulk. However, Steve Spurrier quickly jumped to Clowney’s defense once the photos hit the internet, telling ESPN on Wednesday afternoon, “I really believe Jadeveon has never accepted anything for signing an autograph.”
We haven’t heard the last of this story but it’s unlikely any punishments will be handed out in the end. Not only does the NCAA not have any proof the student-athletes received money in exchange for autographs, but the student-athletes in question are college football’s biggest stars. The only thing that’ll come from this is just further confirmation that the NCAA’s system is flawed and, hopefully, we’re one step closer to change.
UK 2014 running back commit Stanley “Boom” Williams announced on Twitter that he received an official offer from West Virginia on Wednesday. The problem for the Mountaineers is, Boom followed that tweet up with one reading, “#blueandwhite are the colors I believe in”. Early football commitments — especially from studs like Williams — are rarely solid, but Drew Barker is doing a good job of keeping this class glued tight by constantly engaging with them on social media and through text messages. I don’t think we have anything to worry about from this group.
In basketball recruiting news, Myles Turner is down to Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Ohio State, Texas and Oklahoma State. That leaves three teams in play for the potential Mudiay-Turner package deal: Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma State. Mudiay trimmed his list down to five on Monday.
Because Kentucky does it every season now, Indiana and Louisville have agreed to play in New York City in 2014. The schools’ first meeting since 2003 will take place in Madison Square Garden as part of the Jimmy V Classic on December 9, 2014. But Tom Crean doesn’t want to play at neutral sites, remember?
Hey, country music fans… J.D. Shelburne will be opening for Montgomery Gentry at the State Fair on Friday August 23rd at old Cardinal Stadium.
J.D. is a diehard UK fan and a loyal KSR reader so show up and throw him your three-goggles from the crowd. He’ll appreciate it, especially since he’s playing in the former home of the birds.
Last but certainly not least, James Young’s high school coach removed any doubt surrounding Young’s arrival when he told Tom Leach that everything is fine and Young will be ready to go this fall. He reiterated his point to The Herald-Leader later in the day, telling Ben Roberts, “There is no question whatsoever.”