Police Trim Berkeley Tree-Hugger Homes

You may have thought you were reading some important stuff here over the past seven weeks. You were wrong. The year wasn’t officially christened until we had our first Berkeley tree-hugger update of 2008. If you remember, at last check, one of the tree-huggers had fallen out of his humble domain humpty-dumpty style, broken limbs everywhere. Well be happy that all has been set right in this world. Police hired some arborists to roll up in there Nino Brown style and cut down the tree-hugger homes:

The arborist climbed into the grove about 6 a.m. and cut most of the ropes connecting the half-dozen platforms the tree-sitters have built in the foliage. The arborist also took down one of the platforms, which was uninhabited.

“They cut a s- bucket and it fell to the ground and exploded,” said Erik Eisenberg, 39, a leader of the tree-sitters’ ground crew who goes by the name Ayr. “They’ve made things less safe and less sanitary. All they’re trying to do is harass and intimidate us.”

Dude, honestly, Erik, you live in an effing tree. You have no say in the matter. That’s like losing your right to vote. And maybe someone should welcome these cats to the 21st century. You know, an era in which we have plumbing and take advantage of this new invention called … wait for it … toilets. Now there’s a heck of a thought.

Rick Neuheisel to Use Harsher Penalties

It doesn’t take me saying it for you to know that the biggest concern about Rick Neuheisel is his controversial past. He left Washington amidst an NCAA tournament pool issue, and his reign at UW was marred with trouble, as recently chronicled by the Seattle Times. That’s the big reason why he didn’t have any head coaching opportunities after getting booted from U-Dub in ’03, and why UCLA seemed reluctant to hire him. Now contrast Neuheisel to the recently fired Karl Dorrell, who about the only positive compliment one could give about the program he ran was that it was clean. Now don’t get me wrong, I want a clean program. But I want the program to be clean, and successful at the same time. And luckily for Bruin fans, looks like the man formerly known as “Slick Rick” has learned his lesson and will be changing his ways. He reflected on his times at Washington:

“Out of all of this, that’s my biggest regret,” Neuheisel said. He gave a painful look. “I should have made that penalty stiffer. I had an opportunity to send a loud and clear message and neglected to do so. I should have been stronger.”

“I didn’t give out huge penalties in the first place,” he said, leaning forward. But now, “I can see the value of stiff penalties in the future, when they are warranted.”

Those quotes are from an article by Kurt Streeter in the LA Times. Streeter closed by saying Bruins fans need to hold Neuheisel to those words, and I completely agree. As long as he’s learned a lesson or two, or three about enforcing harsher penalties and being stricter, I think we’re in business. Hopefully he appreciates this opportunity to the point where he won’t make those mistakes. Kelvin Sampson couldn’t keep his hand out of the cell phone jar. Hopefully Neuheisel doesn’t have Sampson’s disease.

Great Story: Terry Bowden and Bobby Bowden Fought Over Recruits

I’m a big sucker for great anecdotes, and this would not be an exception. Joining Roc and Manuch on Sporting News Radio Sunday was former Auburn head coach and current college football analyst, Terry Bowden. Terry was breaking down the recruiting scene in light of the recent national signing day. He was asked to share his favorite recruiting story, one that would properly delineate the intense level of competition between the coaches. His anecdote was priceless:

Recruiting against my father in 1994, the No. 1 player in the state of Florida was a kid named Martavius Houston — he was a great player for me at Auburn. He had narrowed his decision down to Florida State and Auburn. That last week I was able to make my one official home visit and the last night possible, I go in there at 6pm. And I’m walking out at 7:30, and a stretch limousine pulled up in front of the house. I had a town car and thought I was fancy. A stretch limousine pulled up in front, driver lets out my old man. He walks up to the front porch, he says hello to momma, he shakes the boy’s hand, and he pats me on the head and he said ‘Terry, when you get home, your momma wants you to call.’ That was all he said! That’s dirty recruiting right there; that tells you how ugly it is.

Great story. Turns out Houston went to Auburn and had a good career there, though he didn’t do anything in the NFL. I also came to find that Terry wrote about this same story for the first time in print a few days ago at Yahoo! Sports in case you want to see a full version of it. Great, great, story. Gotta love Bobby — he’s always struck me as the type to get the perfect zinger. He would make George Costanza jealous.

Personal Sidenote: If Bobby Bowden were to ever sit in my living room and recruit me, my answer would be an unequivocal “yes.” I don’t care if he were pitching me to jump out of a plane in hopes of saving a manatee — that dude’s a legend. I’d run through cement walls for his ass.

Golic Jr. to Sign Letter of Intent on Mike and Mike

As odd as it sounds for a kid on the West Coast, I love Mike and Mike. I have no shame or qualms about it. Most of my friends have no clue about them since they come on at 3am PT, but that’s like prime-time for me (yes, I live a strange life). So anyway, I saw this little nugget while skimming through the radio news site All Access. Much like when Golic had his son come on and announce his intention to attend Notre Dame on the show (where the two almost committed a violation it seemed), Jr. will sign his letter of intent on the show Wednesday:

The son of ESPN RADIO “MIKE AND MIKE IN THE MORNING” co-host MIKE GOLIC will commit to play football for NOTRE DAME, his father’s alma mater, on WEDNESDAY’s edition of his father’s show.

GOLIC SR., a defensive tackle, was a 10th round pick in the 1985 NFL draft and played for the HOUSTON OILERS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, and MIAMI DOLPHINS. MIKE GOLIC JR. is a center from WEST HARTFORD NORTHWEST CATHOLIC high school and a member of the EAST squad in JANUARY’s U.S. ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL.

Whoever authored that press release needs to kick back on the caps lock key just a bit. I guess national signing day is like a big deal and all since it receives television coverage (which it shouldn’t — none of these guys have done anything at a level that matters), but I have to say that’s a pretty cool stunt. Hope the youngster’s an early riser so I can catch the moment before bed.

Luke Caparelli Kicked Off Wake Forest Football for Facebook Comments

Who the hell would’ve thought such a headline would even be a possibility 10 years ago? What has this world come to when players get kicked off teams for things they write in personal internet profile pages? Let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time facebook created a stir amongst collegiate athletes. Anyway, getting to it, Wake Forest running back Luke Caparelli was kicked off the team for comments he had on his Facebook page:

[Luke Caparelli] has been dismissed from the team after writing on his Facebook page that he would “blow up campus.”

Campus police said 19-year-old Luke Caparelli posted the note on the social-networking page on Jan. 13. The note was written in third person and included a threat that Caparelli would have an Uzi submachine gun “locked and loaded in his bag.”

The affidavit said Caparelli acknowledged writing the statements but said he wouldn’t do anything to harm anyone on campus or hurt the school.

I would make a comment about this kid ordinarily, but he’s 19 and made a dumb move. He’s already paid the price of his (stupid) action. I’m still just blown away about the weight these myspace and facebook pages carry these days. I mean kids can’t get away with anything. Then again, what the heck kind of moron writes that he’s going to blow up campus anyway?

UCLA Football Is Finally Legit

At least it appears that way for the time being. Phone calls were shared and cheers were aplenty late Sunday evening and all of Monday amongst the Bruin crowd. No sooner than the moment Lawrence Tynes kicked his way out of torture were the Westwood faithful already focused on a newer, greater piece of news: UCLA had hired Norm Chow as their new offensive coordinator. What is so great about the hire? It means that within two months, UCLA football has gone from six-win oblivion, to all of a sudden having possibly the best coordinator tandem in all of college football, and no doubt a marquee coaching triumvirate of DeWayne Walker, Rick Neuheisel, and now Norm Chow. I am clearly excited about the news as it gives a fresher, reassuring appeal to a football program which had grown stagnant.

Furthermore, speaking specifically about the Chow hire, I am amazed that it happened. First of all, I was stunned to hear that the Titans had fired him. Why? was my first question. How easy can it be to coordinate an offense with an unorthodox QB in Vince Young who was running on a bad wheel most of the year? Not too easy in my opinion. As Gutty Little Bruins told me, Chow was the sacrificial lamb for all of VY’s sins. Sounds about right to me. Next, I thought Chow was way too high profile to come to Westwood. He had already interviewed for the head coaching position but didn’t get it. He had bigger fish to fry. Yet Chow went from pro back to college — in the same capacity — clearly a step down. Regardless, I’m happy about it.

So, as The Driver emailed in, UCLA now has one of the most accomplished offensive coordinators in college football paired with one of the top defensive coordinators in college football, working under a man who somehow convinced both men to come to Westwood. Oh, the future seems bright. Still, before the Honeymoon begins, I must express my skepticism. For one, can these brilliants chefs make a kosher meal if they don’t have good groceries to begin with? In other words, the signs of success could take a few years. And secondly, say they do have success, how long will Chow and/or Walker stay? Or worse, say UCLA does poorly next year, will Walker regret his decision to stay in Westwood and then skip town as soon as he gets his first bite?

While I don’t have the answers to these questions, I will put my skepticism aside and instead smile about something I haven’t in years: UCLA football. We are back.

And p.s. USC fans, the Chow hire cancels out the loss at Pauley Pavilion. Don’t think I would neglect to mention that loss.

Georgia Football in Midseason Form

Perhaps one of the best leads to an article I’ve read in a while came today: “The first clear signal the offseason has begun for Georgia football has arrived: Two Bulldogs football players were arrested and jailed early Sunday morning.” That was from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s the third straight January or February where Georgia football had a player arrested. Nice. They’re almost on par with the Bengals. The offenses:

University of Georgia police arrested cornerback Donavon Baldwin, 21, for improper driving and driving under the influence at 3:05 a.m. Sunday.

Fullback Fred Munzenmaier, 19, was arrested 34 minutes later by university police for underage possession of alcohol and being a pedestrian walking in the roadway.

Hardly seems like a crime to me, well, except for the driving part. I feel for Fred though he should be aware of the difference between an Athens street and the Las Vegas strip. Then again, when your coach choreographs an on-field celebration post-touchdown requiring all the players to storm the endzone, you can’t expect much different behavior from the players.