Rumble in the Gump

A personal foul and retaliation led to a wicked free-for-all during a high school basketball game Tuesday in Montgomery, Ala.

Dennis Victory/Birmingham News

Dennis Victory/Birmingham News

The fight broke out immediately after a foul with just over six minutes remaining in the Round Two state playoff contest between Carver-Montgomery and Valley and caused officials to call the game in favor of Carver, who was ahead, 52-37, when play was interrupted.

The video is here, but the most frightening portion of the clip occurs minutes after the disturbance on the court has been quelled. A large group of crowd members breaks out into a melee of its own, fists and arms flying, people tumbling down bleachers, and law enforcement officials struggling to maintain control.


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Smelley May Play Football for UA in ’10 – and How It Came to Be

He’s not eligible to toss his name in the barrel for 2009, but former South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley says he will strongly consider suiting up for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team in 2010.

“It’s a thought,” Smelley said. “I talked to Coach Saban about it when I first got here. It’s a little time down the road. I have to sit out this year, won’t be able to play for, what, a year-and-a-half or so, but it’s something I’d definitely be considering strongly.”

Spurrier Smelley
Lil’ Bumpity-Bump for da’ road. Don’t let your meat loaf Ol’ Ball Coach…

The Tuscaloosa native transferred back home last month to play baseball for the Tide and is currently enrolled at The University. If he does decide he wants to get back under center, he’d have to sit out a season, as he said, and would only have one remaining year of eligibility.

Fans may remember Smelley, who graduated from Tuscaloosa’s American Christian Academy (ACA) in 2006. He appeared to be the only other signal-caller beside Tim Tebow on Alabama’s radar for most of the ’05-’06 recruiting season.

Mike Shula, ‘Bama’s coach back then, seemed to be the lone human in all the world that didn’t realize Tebow, college football’s most sought-after recruit that year, was a Florida lock – and that the masquerade of a “tough decision” between the Gators and Tide was undoubtedly cooked up by ESPN producers as a storyline for the network’s nationally televised documentary devoted to following around the all-star prospect during his recruitment.

Shula at Tebows
Oh, howdy Coach. Welcome to our lovely town, Smallville Ponte Vedra Beach! Timmy’s back in his room G-chatting with Urban handcrafting Bibles for homeless children. Please wipe your feet on our specially ordered blue-and-orange door mat from the Florida Athletic Department Pottery Barn. Wouldn’t want to track any kryptonite dust in here…Timmy’s allergic to that, you know! What’s the glove for?

Shula spent like 99 hours at Tebow’s home near the Atlantic coast the days before the current UF quarterback’s decision – he apparently missed the Florida Gator helmet mailbox on the way in. Or maybe he forced himself to avert his eyes and pray his last hours-effort on Timmy T would somehow alter the course of fate, as Smelley had committed to South Carolina by the time he reached the Tebow driveway.

The UA coach spent what he surely believed was quality recruiting time with the former Nease High star, probably sitting in Tebow’s bedroom under Florida football posters, bonding as only quarterbacks can…

Left Handed Smudge Guard
See Timbo, us left-handed quarterbacks aren’t freaks! We just have a different blind side…and get poor penmanship grades in elementary school because our stupid cow of a teacher doesn’t notice we’re left-handed…and then when she does finally notice, we have to wear these weird gloves when we write so we don’t smudge the ink! It’s totally normal!

…but the rest is history, as they say.

While Shula was attempting to fit a giant iron block in a tiny iron circle, S.C. coach Steve Spurrier was on Smelley like Jimmy Johns on an eightball, even though the talented QB in ‘Bama’s own backyard reportedly wanted to play for his hometown college.

Alabama never even offered him.

So it goes, Shula hadn’t completely ditched Plan C amid the Tebow ordeal, however. Almost immediately after the “shocking” ESPN commitment announcement and coinciding loss of Smelley to the Gamecocks, the ‘Bama coaching staff jumped all over Texas high school senior Greg McElroy and eventually convinced the Lone Star slinger, who looked like an eight-grader compared to Tebow, to sign with the Tide. McElroy is now a junior in Tuscaloosa and is the favorite to replace three-year starting QB John Parker Wilson as the leader of the offense.

Spurrier promised Smelley “a chance to compete,” and that’s what he got during his three seasons in Columbia. He played in the first two games of his freshman year before being injured for the remainder of ’06. He then competed for the starting QB position over the next two seasons, even sporadically starting over the course of that time. Never able to secure the solid leading role, however, Smelley decided in January 2009 he wanted to come back to Tuscaloosa to try his luck on the baseball diamond.

Smelley Spurrier

When Bear Bryant returned to The Capstone to coach in 1958, he told reporters, “Mama called, and when Mama calls, then you just have to come running.”

No idea if Chris Smelley feels the same about his return to Tuscaloosa. Maybe he just wants consistent playing time in some damned sport. But if he chooses to put back on the pads in 2010, he might be able to get just that.

Playing time won’t come easy, though, Chris…that McElroy kid that Alabama signed instead of you – word is he’s turned into one helluva football player.


Filed under 2009 College Football, Alabama, College Football, ESPN, Florida, Former Coaches, Meyer, Saban, SEC, South Carolina, Spurrier

…in a Handbasket

That this was even considered by University of Memphis officials is more proof that Tennessee‘s Little Brother is an awful, awful program. The Tigers were actually considering wearing uniforms with FedEx colors?

Fedex Uniform Memphis Basketball
Have some respect for yourself, Memphis.

As one Birmingham, Ala., columnist points out:

Without FedEx, Memphis basketball might be Tulane…Without FedEx, the city of Memphis might be Birmingham.

Actually, without FedEx, Memphis basketball would be much worse than Tulane. Without FedEx, it might not be a strong enough program financially to even be in, say, the Sun Belt Conference.

And give Birmingham a little credit, Scarbinsky. The Magic Citaaay is gettin’ a dome ‘iznitches!

From the B’ham Dome website***, we kid you not:

Looks like the economic crash, [Birmingham Mayor Larry] Langford’s arrest, the ensuing sewer scandal, and the hiring of Gene Chizik has failed to diminish the excitement, enthusiasm, and focus of the birmingham dome plan.

B'ham Dome
Define ‘dome.’

Back to the FedEx uniforms thing…so Memphis basketball does owe a lot to the corporate sponsor that pumps the life-blood into the program’s sorry existence. But does that mean the school must completely abandon its tradition and values for shameless corporate advertisement? Wait…tradition…values…Memphis?

Nevermind…as you were.

**Disregard that the City of Birmingham is on the brink of bankruptcy. Maybe a nice moneymaker like Memphis’s own Platinum Plus Club should be arranged…

***The Birmingham Dome website is apparently just a blog run by some dude who wants a dome in the city and is in no way affiliated with the City of Birmingham, which is cutting costs on notepad paper at city council meetings and probably couldn’t be able to fit a website into the budget even if it wanted.


Filed under Alabama, Alabama Basketball, Memphis Basketball, SEC Basketball

Who Will Play Quarterback for Alabama in 2009?

The frost was working out of the ground, and out of the air, too, and it was getting closer and closer onto barefoot time every day; and next it would be marble time, and next mumbletypeg, and next tops and hoops, and next kites, and then right away it would be summer and going in a-swimming.

It just makes a boy homesick to look ahead like that and see how far off summer is. Yes, and it sets him to sighing and saddening around, and there’s something the matter with him, he don’t know what. But anyway, he gets out by himself and mopes and thinks; and mostly he hunts for a lonesome place high up on the hill in the edge of the woods and sets there and looks away off on the big Mississippi down there a-reaching miles and miles around the points where the timber looks smoky and dim it’s so far off and still, and everything’s so solemn it seems like everybody you’ve loved is dead and gone, and you ‘most wish you was dead and gone too, and done with it all.

Don’t you know what that is? It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away; get away from the same old tedious things you’re so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new.

That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer; you want to go wandering far away to strange countries where everything is mysterious and wonderful and romantic. And if you can’t do that, you’ll put up with considerable less; you’ll go anywhere you CAN go, just so as to get away, and be thankful of the chance, too.

Well, me and Tom Sawyer had the spring fever, and had it bad, too…

– Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Detective by Mark Twain

Modern college football was not even a twinkle in America’s eye when Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer rambled around fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri, near the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.

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Filed under 2009 College Football, Alabama, College Football, Former Players, Saban, SEC, Spring Practice 2009

His Chainsaw Unit Ran on Diesel Fuel

We tripped over an EDSBS post Wednesday reflecting on the curious connection between sickingly talented running backs and their penchants for bizarre, disturbing, or just plain illegal, activities. The post begins,

Cecil Collins, oh, for the things you could have been had you not decided to break into apartments and strange women sleep.

Collins smashed bones to pieces for one hot streak of games in 1997 before breaking his leg, and then deciding the best thing to do with his spare time was entering apartments not belonging to him and cuddling with women.

He wasn’t a molester; no, we prefer the term “cuddle bandit,” instead, as it sounds so much more jaunty.

Reference to the former LSU tailback reminded us of a time when we were terrified of but three things in this world:

(1) Skeet Ulrich;

(2) forgetting to return a book to the public library for several years, causing an accumulation of overdue fines exceeding a million dollars; and

(3) Cecil “The Diesel” Collins.

Beside having the baddest-ass nickname in the history of people, every time he stepped onto the field he evoked that melancholic flood of hot fear-blood in the stomachs of opposing players, coaches, and fans – and probably even his own teammates.Cecil Collins

We remember watching The Diesel absolutely run roughshod over folks in the ’97 LSU-Auburn game down in Death Valley. He was like a cyclonic bulldozer every time he carried the ball, and it was clear that after a couple of his runs, instead of attempting to stop him, Auburn defenders were trying to get out of his way.

Because he hurt. Hurt bad.

It was a game in which it seemed like every time LSU ran the ball, the Tigahs either scored or sent somebody to the hospital – or both. Collins finished that game with 232 yards, but LSU’s own defense couldn’t contain AU quarterback Dameyune Craig, and the visitors eked out a 31-28 win over coach Gerry DiNardo‘s squad.

In 1995, Collins’s senior season at Leesville High School, he wrecked the fields for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. The performance led to his coronation as Louisiana’s first Mr. Football as well as his second straight player-of-the-year award in 4A, Leesville’s classification. When his high school career was over, he had compiled over 7,800 yards, good for second-best all-time in state history, and 99 touchdowns.

The Diesel only played in three full D1 college football games, however. After missing his first year at LSU due to grades, he stepped in alongside second-string RB Rondell Mealey against Mississippi State to cover for injured starter Kevin Faulk in the second game of the season. LSU’s scary rushing attack did not skip a beat without Faulk, as Collins and Mealey tore into Bulldog coordinator Joe Lee Dunn‘s defense for 257 combined yards (Collins had 172). The next week he had his way with Auburn. Following that, he rumbled over poor Akron for 179 yards.

Note that he lost a shoe at the line of scrimmage and was angry he only got to run over one defender.

In Collins’s fourth outing in an LSU uniform, against Vanderbilt, he broke his leg early in the contest. Somebody important must’ve been praying for Vandy. In just over three college football games, The Diesel had gained nearly 600 yards and caused more cranial contusions than Mike Tyson.

After his injury, Collins was arrested for breaking into a girl’s home and “cuddling” with her. He claimed to have been sleepwalking when the incident occurred, and LSU bought it. But then it happened again, and this time he was dropped from the football team and the university.

Let’s be clear about something – if Cecil “The Diesel” Collins entered our home in the middle of the night and attempted to “cuddle,” caress, or even make us watch Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion with him, we would oblige and offer to make him panna cotta. Then we would request that he allow us to remove our mud-colored underwear and slip into a sheer satin teddy. We’d do all this not because we’re into dudes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but because he is the most terrifying individual on Earth.

But now The Diesel is in prison. Not long after signing with the Miami Dolphins and actually playing in some NFL games in ’99, he broke into a married woman’s house for more creepy breathing and cuddling. The woman’s husband was home.

Guess they didn’t have any panna cotta ingredients in the pantry.

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Filed under Auburn, College Football, Former Players, LSU, Mississippi State, SEC, The "friendly" but maybe "too friendly" principal in Scream 1, Things That Go Bump in the Night, Vanderbilt, Wes Craven

I’m in Town to Play the Dolphins…

Brett Favre is retiring from the Jets and football forever, huh? Brett, we have one request. Don’t become a broadcaster or analyst like so many other former NFL stars. Be an actor. We know you’ve got it in you.

In fact, Favre was in town to play the Dolphins for his final game on Dec. 28th. But it was in New Jersey…not Miami.

Brett Favre

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Filed under Former Players, NFL

Tennessee Self-Reports Recruiting Violations

Storm CloudUnless Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin is an intergalactic terrorist wearing some poor human’s skin as disguise and roaming the Earth in search of a miniature galaxy inside a housecat’s collar, he has run out of feet to stick in his mouth.

Baby Lane KiffinLess than four days after Kiffin publicly and erroneously accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of violating NCAA rules, UT has self-reported two recruiting violations, according to an AP report.

The infractions cited are trivial and would normally not be worth mentioning, but in light of Kiffin’s recent imputations and overall belligerence, his behavior rating for class this week is stormy.


Filed under 2009 College Football, Cheaters, College Football, ESPN, Florida, Kiffin, Meyer, Monte Kiffin, Orgeron, Recruiting, SEC, Tennessee