Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Newport News

Greetings from the basement of the Hotel Viking, the swankiest hotel in Newport. Yours truly woke up at 5 a.m. to make the drive up this morning. Several cups of black coffee later, I'm still going strong...but looking to avoid a crash.

The latest from Big East Media Day:
  • UConn's series from Michigan is in the final stages. The contracts are in the hands of lawyers to shore up minor details, but it's set to roll. It's major on many levels, including future scheduling. That proposed six-year deal with Notre Dame, with three in South Bend and three at NFL sites? A source with some clout in the matter told me not long ago that the series, as proposed, is dead. UConn is unwilling to pursue the series as proposed, with no games at the Runway. Bolstered by Michigan and Tennessee, both on deck in coming years, UConn doesn't need to play anyone at neutral sites now. Not even almighty Notre Dame.

  • New Big East commissioner John Marinatto was democratic in speaking of the future of the conference as far as new bowl agreements and expansion, but the coaches are in agreement that something needs to be done. The league as a football conference is treading water, in the words of one coach. Agreements and deals are up soon, and there is pressure on Marinatto to improve the situation.

  • Representatives from the BCS as well as the Gator, Sun and the other four Big East-affiliated bowls were all on hand today.

  • Randy Edsall deemed it a quiet summer, meaning no major problems or injuries.

  • UConn was in a familiar spot in the polls: sixth. Seems they've been there just about every season. "Maybe it will start practice off with a fire, but we don't really concern ourselves with the polls," UConn fullback and co-captain Anthony Sherman said. "We have to worry about winning games. The polls will work themselves out in the end."

  • Desi Cullen's goal for the day was to win "best dressed player" honors, and he may have succeeded. On first glance, I saw his all-white suit and thought, "he looks like Colonel Sanders". But, it turned out to be quite the ensemble. Very GQ. "All these guys are wearing dark suits," Cullen said. "Look, we're in Newport in the summertime. You have to wear white." All Desi needed was a yacht and a glass of champagne and he would have blended right in with the old-money crowd.

  • Once again, South Florida's Jim Leavitt was in rare form. He spent the morning yukking it up with anyone and everyone, the antithesis of his football season personality. My theory is he sends a stunt double to Newport each year while the real coach Leavitt is in a dark room in Tampa poring over game film.

  • Randy Edsall loves the depth on the defensive line, and doesn't see any changes. The four-man rotation at defensive tackle is perfect, and there are plenty of ends. He doesn't feel the same about the depth at linebacker, although there's some big-time talent at the top.

  • The captains chose "Sacrifice to win" as the team motto for the season.

That's it for now. Maybe more before I head back to Connecticut.


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