Oklahoma State is a dark horse CFB Playoff contender with a First Team All-American running back returning to contend for the Heisman Trophy. Mike Gundy’s dream season turned into a nightmare for a few hours on Monday.
It all started with a t-shirt Gundy wore on a fishing outing. Was Chuba Hubbard simply angered by the t-shirt? It appears to be more of a symptom of larger problems within the culture of the program, acting as the straw that broke the camel’s back . That was evident as other current and former players echoed Hubbard’s statement, saying enough was enough. After about six hours of online chaos, Gundy broke his silence, issuing the following statement alongside Hubbard.
Change is coming I promise you that. pic.twitter.com/wTGHtByh3N
— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
What exactly needed to be changed and what is next? The details are unclear and it might be for the best. Some issues are best solved inside a locker room. It took the Cowboys’ best player to speak out for it to happen, but if they can come together, make meaningful change and put this in the past, it will all be worth it for the program. Even though Gundy is often portrayed as a bad guy, at the heart of his most ridiculous moment as a head coach he was standing up for one of his players. This time he’ll just have to do it in a different manner.
Kentucky Picks Up an Aussie Punter
Kentucky’s Australian pipeline isn’t drying up anytime soon. Monday night Wilson Berry announced he will be joining the Big Blue Nation. His older brother, Pittsburgh Steelers punter Jordan Berry, played college football for Dean Hood at Eastern Kentucky. Even though Hood has since departed, the connections to Louie Matsakis and current UK punter Max Duffy were enough to convince Berry to become a Wildcat. An AFL alum, one can only hope he brings his goal celebration dance with him to Lexington.
The Boys are Back in Town
Kentucky’s freshmen football players are officially on campus. Monday morning the masked athletes moved into dorms on campus, the first folks to live there since March. If all goes according to plan, Coach Ed and Coach Hill will run them through their first workouts next Monday.
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Speaking of back in town, Matt Jones has returned to the KSR airwaves. Today Cumberland County receives the KSR county spotlight. Don’t miss it.
No Basketball for Ben Jordan
When Kentucky needed a big man in 2019-20, John Calipari asked Nick Mingione to borrow a ball player. The 6-foot-9 pitcher will return to the mound full-time after playing in two games for Coach Cal and providing help in the paint.
Baseball Season Might Not Happen
Oops, baseball did it again. Commissioner Rob Manfred told Mike Greenberg that he’s not confident the owners and players will reach an agreement to play the 2020 season.
“I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk, and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue,” he said. “It’s just a disaster for our game, absolutely no question about it. It shouldn’t be happening, and it’s important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans.”
Salute to a Local Legend
Today the Louisville community says goodbye to one of the Bluegrass’ best. Paul Schmitt passed away Friday. He was 82.
This fall when you turn on the television to watch college and NFL football, there’s a good chance Paul is responsible for putting one of those officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Al Riveron and Sarah Thomas, the NFL’s first full-time female official, are disciple’s of Schmitt. Riveron described Schmitt to the Courier-Journal as “a father figure run many ways.”
“He just saw me work a scrimmage and offered me a job after that,” he said. “He gave a lot of us an opportunity.”
I would describe Paul Schmitt as a man I feared as a child. A close family friend, we often spent our Sundays swimming at the Schmitt family pool with at least a dozen other kids. It was all fun games, so long as you didn’t get on the big man’s bad side. Later in life I learned that stern face was just a facade he learned after decades of officiating some of the best games in college football history. Before the 1987 Orange Bowl began, he forced the suspended Brian Bosworth to leave midfield at the coin toss and he had a front row seat to Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary. “You sure that wasn’t a hold, Paul?” My dad would tease the white-cap.
Among his other career footnotes, at Flaget High School in 1955 Schmitt became the first player to ever wear a facemark in the state of Kentucky, forced to don the equipment after a facial injury. He later became a letterman at the University of Louisville.
The city of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky are home to some of the best officials in the sport of football. A tight-knit community, Schmitt mentored many on their way to calling National Championships and Super Bowls. Many others who spent time on the sidelines with him years ago shared with Tim Sullivan the impact he made in that community. I can’t speak to that, but I can say that he was a good man who loved the game of football. I’m grateful to have known Paul Schmitt and shared a few moments with him in the press box talking about the game we love.