Skip Prosser Dies Of Heart Attack

Wow.  This is terrible news.

 

Skip Prosser apparently had a heart attack this morning while jogging and died.  He was 56 years old.  By all accounts, he was an extremely likable and good man.

 

Sad, sad, sad.  I feel terrible for his family, his friends, his current and former players and all Wake Forest and college basketball fans.

 

I had even planned on writing a post this week about how Prosser had earned himself two more guaranteed years at Wake by signing two outstanding players a couple of weeks ago.  I hope their commitments made his final weeks happy.

 

More links:

Dime Magazine

Mike DeCourcy

Dick Vitale

News & Record

Guest Preview – ACC Football – Atlantic Division

I mentioned previously that I would be posting a third-party football preview, and here it is!  Tom from MadduxSports.com put together a nice preview of the 2007 ACC football season for me simply for the quid pro quo of linking back to his site.  The Coastal Division is coming next.  Enjoy!

ACC Atlantic Division Preview from MadduxSports.com

When we were constructing our NCAA football predictions yearbook and free season preview, the ACC Atlantic division was without a doubt the most challenging to predict. After Florida State, the skill level between Atlantic teams 2-6 is microscopic. When we come across a scenario like this where the teams are so comparable, we have to really rely on the schedule to sort out the order of finish. Add some new coaches to the mix, Cinderella stories, bizarre stats and the challenge to take the ACC Atlantic expects to be one thrilling race this season.

1) Florida State – After a 3-5 ACC record in 2006, most prognosticators are down on the Seminoles. Maybe it is the fact that Florida State has lost 22 games in the last 5 seasons and is not just the dominant Seminole team of old. Or it could be the fact Bowden has a plethora of new coordinators. I am not buying it. Last season they were young and had very few seniors. Seventeen freshmen saw playing time, but guess what all those guys have experience now. As for the coaches, Jimbo Fisher, Rick Trickett, and Chuck Amato are all viable head coaching candidates; these are not your normal run of the mill coaches.

FSU will be lead by their defense that only allowed 92.5 ypg rushing in 06. The defensive line is arguably the best in entire nation and goes 2 deep at all 4 spots. Former JUCO All-American Paul Griffin is back from an early season knee injury which will move tackle by trade Andre Fluellen back to his normal position. The linebacking corps loses a couple of players to the NFL including stud Lawrence Timmons. Early injuries to the line backers hurt last years output but if the Seminoles can stay injury free you could actually see melioration in this unit.

The offense will hinge on how fast Drew Weatherford learns Jimbo Fisher’s playbook. If the learning curve is quick, the Seminoles will be explosive and should average 30 ppg. Don’t forget that while he was the offensive coordinator at LSU, Fishers offense’s averaged 30 points a game against SEC defenses. How do you think his troops will do playing against inferior competition? I fully expect a return to prominence for the Noles and anticipate seeing them in a BCS game in January of 08.

2) Wake Forest – No one is giving the Demon Deacons a chance to repeat as ACC champions, but I’ll bite. We all know that Wake Forest was very fortunate having the ball bounce their way in 2006 (+13 TO margin & +3 in close wins), but a lot of the success has to be accredited to perhaps the ACC’s best coaching staff lead by Jim Grobe. To dismiss the TO issue, the Demon Deacons are normally on the plus side of the turnover numbers because of Steed Lobotzke’s confusing innovative offensive schemes and Dean Hood’s ball hawking defense. Wake Forest returns 14 starters, including 9 on offense which should get the Deacs scoring back in the mid 20’s. Their ACC schedule is also the weakest in the entire conference and they get the lucky draw of playing the 2 bottom feeders from the Coastal; Duke & North Carolina. We won’t go out on a limb and say they repeat last year’s magical season, but there will not be that huge drop in the standings that you are reading about everywhere else.

3) Clemson – After starting the season 7-1 the Tigers fell flat on their face finishing at 8-5. They capped off the late season futility by losing to Kentucky 28-20 in the Music City bowl. Even with the dynamic running back duo of James Davis and CJ Spiller, the offense could be in some trouble. No Tiger quarterback has played a meaningful snap and the offensive line must be retooled. The defense is one of the ACC’s best and will need to carry the club until the offense gels. Clemson is young only having 8 senior scholarship players. The schedule is one of the more manageable ones in the ACC which is we are calling for a 3rd place finish and 5-3 record in ACC play even though some teams listed below the Tigers are more gifted.

4) NC State – Last years 9 losses (most since 1959) sparked the Wolfpack to fire Chuck Amato and hire rival BC Eagle coach Tom O’Brien. O’Brien immediately brings a no-nonsense attitude guaranteeing to repair the undisciplined penalties and turnovers that plagued NC State during the Amato era. NC State was hindered by a -11 in turnover margin and 5 close losses in 06, so better luck is anticipated. If the Wolfpack can solve the QB quandary and the defense retools after losing their top 2 tacklers, expect to see the Wolfpack bowling again.

5) Boston College – The Eagles had to a hire a new head coach after Tom O’Brien bolted away to rival NC State before last years bowl game.  Jeff Jagodzinski is now the man in charge and inherits O’Brien’s talented recruits.  Jagodzinski is a young and innovative offensive coach who spent some time in the NFL before taking the position.  He also has some familiarity with Boston College as he was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles from 1997-98. Senior quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the best and toughest guys in the country passing for almost 3,000 yards while playing most of last season with a broken foot. Boston College returns 17 starters from a team that won their 7th straight bowl game the year before. Why are we so down on the Eagles? BC benefited from a +15 turnover margin in 2006. They also have a new head coach and are running new offensive schemes. Add to it that BC has arguably the toughest ACC schedule drawing the top three Coastal division teams and we have to place the Eagles in the 5th slot.

6) Maryland – We are still scratching our heads trying to figure out how the Terrapins finished with a 9-4 record last year. In the 2006 season Maryland won 5 ACC games by a combined margin of victory of only 13 points! They were also outgained by 85 yards per contest in all ACC games. They had six close wins overall and tremendous fortune like that doesn’t often repeat itself. Maryland does return 8 starters on offense so expect improvement on the 21 points per game. Maryland’s club is refined but the win/loss record won’t reflect it.

If you took pleasure in reading our predictions on the ACC, join Maddux Sports for free football picks on the weekly college slate. Maddux offers both free and premium football picks as well as weekly game break downs all season long.

Hi Ate Us

You may have noticed – things have been a bit slow around here. With ACC basketball and football both deep in their offseason, I just haven’t been able to work up the energy to put out too many posts. Been busy at work too. Sure, there have been a number of things that I’d like to write about – something comes up nearly every day – but I just haven’t found the time or motivation to do my thoughts justice.
So, I’m taking a little break. Some time to recharge the batteries.
I’ll still be around, checking and posting in the message board, but I don’t think I’ll be posting too many (or any) articles until football gets going.
If you have something you’d like to talk about, feel free to start a thread. I’ll notice and I’ll comment. Hey, I’ll even spot you a few topics! What do you think about the ACC’s recent release of the school payouts? Does that justify expansion? And compare and contrast that to the debate over adding two more games to the basketball schedule. And what’s up with Gus Gilchrist reneging on Virginia Tech supposedly because of the shootings there? Does anyone believe that excuse?

Big Charles

There’s just something about Charles Barkley. He’s not the smartest guy in the world, but he’s certainly smart. He’s not the funniest guy in the world, but he’s certainly funny. He’s not the best basketball analyst in the world, but he’s certainly a great one. He’s not any one thing, but as a whole, he’s incredibly unique and incredibly likable. You hear or read the things he says – and they aren’t the first time you’ve heard these things – and just say yes, Barkley is right!
I think what it boils down to is that he’s just incredibly comfortable with who he is. He never pretends to be something he’s not. Every single personality you see on TV, hear on the radio or read in the paper is trying to put forth an image that’s greater than the real thing. Not Barkley. He is who is and he’s perfectly happy with that. You wouldn’t think that sort of self-confidence would be rare, especially in a world filled with professional and former professional athletes, but within seconds of hearing Charles talk, you can see the facade. Not his facade, but everyone else’s.
In this interview in The New Republic, Barkley talks about politics and current social issues, including the Imus and Duke lacrosse cases. As always, he’s worth listening too.

The ACC’s Best

William Maloney, AKA Eagle In Atlanta, wrote a column last week for his AOL FanHouse site. In it, he ranks the ACC coaches using an objective measure – the coach’s winning percentage versus the school’s all-time winning percentage. It’s hard to find objective ways to compare coaches, but this is a pretty good one. (any moron can do it subjectively) It would have been even better if he had removed the coach’s own record from the school’s record. This is particularly relevant for Bobby Bowden and Frank Beamer because they have been at their schools for so long.
Another factor that diminishes this ranking a bit is that the inherent strengths and weaknesses of programs can change drastically over time. Duke was once a national power football, but those days are long gone. Likewise, before Florida became the unquestioned greatest source of college football talent, Florida State was a very mediocre program. Yes, Bobby Bowden deserves TONS of credit for building a national power, but let’s face it, it’s immeasurably easier to win in Tallahassee now than it was 30 years ago.
But back to the ratings in that article. Ralph Friedgen came out on top, with an improvement of .143 over Maryland’s historical standards. Jim Grobe came in second followed by the two aforementioned giants, Saint Bobby and Beamer. For some reason (and I can maybe guess why), Eagle did not rate Jim O’Brien, considering him a new coach at NC State. It would make sense to me to include O’Brien’s record at BC for his rating. Same with UNC’s Butch Davis. It would be interesting to see how his years at Miami would rate, although to be fair, he was only there for a few seasons and had to deal with probation.

ACC Bible

I love ACC basketball. I love statistics. I probably spend an inordinate amount of time gathering, reading and thinking about ACC basketball stats, but I’ve got nothing on this guy. Michael O’Hara has collected and is publishing a book with box scores and game reports for every ACC men’s basketball game ever played.
Wow.
And it’s going to be a hell of a book. The whole thing will printed as three volumes, each 8.5 by 11 inches and 800 pages. That’s a lot of book.
When I first read the headline and saw what they were talking about, I was really hoping that they were talking about a database, preferably a freely accessible database, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I can dream though.

Terps To Lose Scholarships?

When the NCAA released its 2007 APR report last week, it generated the usual slate of articles looking at how local schools fared. Those that did well were praised and excuses were generally provided for those who didn’t do well. Normally I would have written something about the report, but it just seemed repetitive this year and no ACC schools seemed to be in serious trouble.
Well, I was wrong. Maryland basketball is in a bit of hot water. According to The Baltimore Sun, as paraphrased at AOL’s NCAA FanHouse, two of Maryland’s seniors this year are not on track to graduate. If either of them fails to catch up and earn his sheepskin on time, the Terps will fall below NCAA standards and be punished by losing two scholarships. Ouch. Two scholarships is a pretty serious penalty, but on the plus side, think of all the extra excuses it could provide Gary Williams!

Three The Hard Way

The other night, I was playing in a local rec league basketball game. My team was getting drilled by the top team in the league. One of their players showed up for just the second half. He is a short, overweight, unathletic guy. If you saw him, you’d never think he was a good basketball player and you’d be right. Obviously, they didn’t play this guy much, but late in the game they had him out there, trying to get him a bucket. For the last 2-3 possessions it was almost a joke. They’d throw him the ball in the hopes that he’d get in the scoring column. Well, lo and behold, in the last few seconds, he caught a pass, took one dribble and launched a three-pointer. Swish.
When the old fat dude who couldn’t even play ball when he wasn’t old and fat is hitting threes, the shot is too easy.
Well, the NCAA Committee is doing something about it. In a rare correct move, they have voted (of course, it still has to be approved) to move the line back a foot, to 20 feet, 9 inches starting in the 2008-09 season. No, it’s not a huge change, but it will help. It will be slightly more difficult and it might help spread the college game out a bit more. It should also make the mid-range game a bit more significant. Everybody wins!
(Here is where I point out the one crappy part. The women’s committee did NOT approve the same change, so now there will be an extra line on the court. Two lines just one foot apart. Ugh.)

Glasper vs. O’Brien

Eagle In Atlanta has an interesting post today about some controversy involving former BC and current NC State coach Tom O’Brien. The story, as detailed in this ESPN.com piece, is that O’Brien promised safety Ryan Glasper that he’d redshirt him last year while Glasper recovered from hip surgery. In the middle of the season, just after BC lost that heartbreaker to the Wolfpack, O’Brien went to Glasper and told him that he needed to play; O’Brien would NOT grant him a redshirt, so unless he wanted his career to be over, he needed to play then, injured or not.
Now, on the surface, the story sucks, especially as presented in this article. Coaches shouldn’t go back on their promises to their players and they shouldn’t put their guys in the position of possibly suffering a career-ending injury. But keep in mind that all of the information in this story comes from Glasper (and a few short quotes from some assistants) and remember that TOB probably hurt a lot of feelings when he bolted Chestnut Hill for another school in the same conference.
Another point to consider is that this sort of thing probably isn’t that uncommon, at least not the part about playing guys who were planning on redshirting. You hear it every year with teams that are struggling. Invariably, they have a few freshmen studs that they are hoping to redshirt, but under the pressure of losing, they put those guys on the field in the middle or even late in the season. Basically, those kids get an abbreviated and rushed start to their career, maybe playing in just a couple of games but burning a year of eligibility. Is that unethical, or is that just a coach doing whatever is in his power to win? Which is greatest, the obligation to the program as a whole, the obligation to a particular team or the obligation to an individual player? It’s a tough situation. Most coaches will tell you that they never sacrifice the present for the future, but the truth is that they do it all the time. The future isn’t guaranteed to any coach. Redshirt too many guys today and your predecessor may reap the benefits next year.
It’s an interesting story. If it went down exactly as described (and I bet it didn’t), then O’Brien is an asshole. But then, aren’t most football coaches assholes?

Terrapin Captain A Dukie?

This is crazy. Almost all college students root for their own school in every sport. In a few cases, you find a kid who sticks to their childhood team despite going to a different school. But an athlete rooting against his own school (not in his sport)? That’s unheard of (by me)! To make this even more unlikely, we’re talking about a Maryland athlete rooting for Duke. In basketball! It’s hard to think of too many more vitriolic rivalries right now than Maryland-Duke, with the bulk of the hatred coming from College Park.
So how does this guy do it? I mean, he’s even a captain of the lacrosse team! I think you can find the answer in his size – the dude’s 6-4, 240. Who’s going to say anything?
Hat tip to the DBR for finding this one.