Tag Archives: RichRod

Football: A Failed Billboard and the Starting Lineup

I’m not a football expert but I enjoy the hell out of it. And while I’m barely an expert on most things I know with expert decisiveness that UNLV – Arizona’s opponent tomorrow night – failed with this billboard:

UNLV_BILLBOARD_WX_090413JS_001

If you’re paying attention, this billboard – in a city swarming with billboards – was erected with the likeness of FORMER basketball coach, Lon Kruger, urging fans to “COME TO OUR HOUSE.” Kruger’s house moved to Norman in 2011 and I know of only one other institution capable of this sort of signage blunder. Interim UNLV AD, Tina Kunzer-Murphy, said their marketing department never saw the creative before it went live. The sign is being taken down and Dave Rice – the Rebels’ current coach – thought it was funny. Tina didn’t.

Alas, failed marketing never really hurt a sports team and so when the Wildcats and Rebels take to the field, all eyes will be in Arizona’s backfield to see All-American Ka’Deem Carey Daniel Jenkins. The shifty senior has “earned the start” per head coach Rich Rodriguez and thus we continue to keep a watchful eye on the controversy that is/was Carey’s off-season.

Carey misbehaved and should be punished for such. He’s served publicly – cleaning around campus – and had much of his media access removed or turned off. He sees counselors for anger management. His Heisman campaign does not exist. And now RichRod is punishing him with on-field limitations, suspending him last week against NAU and now giving Jenkins the start; propagating what could have been an issue put behind us.

But so long as Jenkins is producing and Carey is getting touches, one has to believe that this is the final piece to Carey’s disciplining. After all, some of his actions were in the vein of untouchable arrogance (Dude, don’t get escorted out of a college basketball game screaming I’m an All-American. In fact, don’t get escorted from a game, period). RichRod’s UNLV depth chart serves as a slice of humble pie to the All-American talent.

My concern would be that this could cause a rift between Jenkins, Carey, or other players. Starters vs. backups, etc. can be a sensitive subject within the greater context of a locker room. Rodriguez doesn’t want to drive a stake through what should prove to be his most important offensive assets before the meat of his schedule arrives.

But there’s still a lot of time until that sort of competition arrives, when storylines shift to games named after flowers as opposed to first and second stringers. As is the case in many of these situations, winning erases problems and so the 7:30pm kickoff cannot come soon enough.

As for now, we can focus on the lighter side, like failed billboards, and rest assured that Tucsonans won’t soon see anything featuring the imagery of John Mackovic or Kevin O’Neill.

Lazy, Desert Town Preview: USC at Arizona

Zack Jerome, a friend, previewed the USC-Arizona game. He’s good, hell with a pen as he’ll tell you. The following is my Arrogant Game Preview rebuttal:

Our first interaction was a hug.

I’d walked into the bar, crowded with the familiar home-for-the-holidays crew, and was introduced to this Angelino. At the time he was the boyfriend of a high school friend. Today he is her husband, founder of Arrogant Nation and that evening he was hugged by me because that’s what we do in a lazy, desert town.

That’s what Tucson is. It’s not Los Angeles and it’s not supposed to be. We’re drier than Seattle, lower than Boulder, less techy than the Bay, bigger than Eugene, Pullman, and Corvallis. We sure as shit ain’t Tempe.

Huge buildings in Tucson!

You see, we’re a happy bunch and we want to have a good time. So much so that sometimes we’ll even come onto the field before the game is over! I mean, who doesn’t want to party with Jeremiah Masoli? And our all-time winningest coach? Dude is renowned for being a sweet old man. We found him in Hawaii. A good man, Dick Tomey was celebrated for losing during his tenure at San Jose State. God bless him.

John Mackovic.

Of course there’s the whole never-been-to-a-Rose-Bowl thing. But let me ask this: why would I want to go to Pasadena for New Years? In Tucson it’s 75 and sunny and we can golf or hike or jump in our own swimming pools or lotion our hands because it’s so effing dry. Get up at 4am to sit in miserable traffic to watch a goddamn flower parade? No thank you. I’ll take Bud Nitros on the couch with the door to the porch open. And because I’m home visiting, my mom will probably even go pick up my Chad’s Choice from Beyond Bread.

Hell with a pen, Zack? I’m self-deprecating on a QWERTY.

But it’s not all fun and games in Tucson. We’ll fire your basketball coach and gladly take Derrick Williams off your hands (don’t be surprised, you knew it was going to come down to basketball – I mean, the football locker rooms are in McKale). And we’ll take coaches who turn down the head job at Alabama and talk with a drawl and spread the shit out of a football field.

Look, Rich is our kinda guy. He’s the lowest profile, high profile guy you can find. Check out Tucson. Seriously, check it out. It’s the thirty-third most populous city in America. But you’d never guess that and you’d never guess that RichRod was once the hottest name in coaching. In his introductory press conference, guns blazing, he declared, “Why not Arizona?” We ate it up.

Why not Arizona?

We leave the arrogance to the big city because we’ve got saguaros to maintain and we check our shoes for scorpions. We watch basketball in March and embrace all of the UC rejects who don’t want to go to Tempe. Do you know why Jerry Bruckheimer (UA grad!) keeps making mega movies for USC kids to hold boom mics in? Because it’s hot as hell in Tucson during the summer and what the hell else are we going to do?

Back to the hug.

It was unexpected for Zack and unexpected that I’d smell deceased bear on his coat when I embraced him. But embrace I did because that’s how it’s done in a lazy, desert town. We welcome – contrary to state legislation – any and all and will raise a cup of bourbon or whatever you like to celebrate competition and sport. SPORTS!

Good luck, Zack. You’re the best. And watch this: