Sunday, September 25, 2005

Orton, Tate, Men in White Jackets, Deace, Irish, Blanchard, Cyclones

I wasn’t able to watch Kyle Orton and the Chicago Bears play yesterday, so the football expert who modestly calls himself “I’m No Expert” said he’d do me a favor and monitor the game.

Here’s his e-mail:


“Orton had a terrible game, but he should not have been charged with that first interception. He hit his receiver in the numbers, but he bobbled it and a Bengal grabbed the rebound. Should have been recorded as a dropped pass. I predict Orton will be OK, and I'm proud of the Bears for allowing him to continue. Jeepers, Brett Favre threw three interceptions Sunday and Daunte Culpepper has thrown eight in two games, so Orton's day was not much worse that theirs. I liked what Orton said, that it was not because he was young, but because ‘I played like crap.’"

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: Thanks, “I’m No Expert,” for watching Orton, the Bears’ rookie from Altoona and Purdue. Five interceptions is a lot, but the Bears’ record is seven in 1960 by the sure-armed [hah!] Zeke Bratkowski. Hey, at least Orton's day wasn't as bad as I first heard yesterday. I was attending the 39th birthday party for Kevin, my youngest son, when Judy, his mother-in-law, said Orton had thrown EIGHT interceptions. It must have been the Bud Light. I’m with you. I'm glad Lovie [some kind of name for a guy who coaches football, don’t you think?] Smith and his offensive assistants didn’t pull Orton out of the game. The Bears aren’t very good, but it’s been quite a while since they were worth a damn, so this could be a long, long season for them and Orton. By the way, I have a hunch Orton will last longer in the league than Lovie].


I’m No Expert” was critical of Iowa quarterback Drew Tate in an e-mail a few days ago for coming across as “being stupid” in an interview following the Hawkeyes’ victory over Northern Iowa.

A guy who has been around the TV business a lot of years had this explanation for what might have happened:

“….. It seemed to me like Tate was already posturing and getting ready for [Saturday’s] game at Ohio State. What gets overlooked when you interview players immediately after the game is that no coach has had time to ‘coach them’ for the interview. And, believe you me, they get coached for interviews. It is usually part of the head coach’s postgame speech you get to hear back if you interview them afterward. If you interview them before the coaches get at them, you sometimes get the real deal....or you get what the kid thinks the coach wants them to say. Tate is a coach’s kid. He wasn't going to say anything about anything.

“One other thing that gets ‘sort of’ overlooked is how VERY good Ferentz is at that immediate postgame interview. He speaks with his head and with his heart. There is no question you will get some ‘coach-speak,’ but you also get some gems too.

“…. By the way, whoever took that picture of you for your column is good. Great picture.

“One other thing. You know what I miss? I miss Maury White, Buck Turnbull and Ron Maly writing sports NEWS and occasionally branded commentary. I swear there is only one good writer left at the Register in sports.

“I blather on. Sorry.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: Thanks for the explanation of what you think might have happened to Tate. These first few weeks of the season have turned into tough ones—both on and off the field—for the junior quarterback, who was the preseason offensive player of the year in the Big Ten. Look for him to have a tremendous game Saturday against an Illinois team that was shellacked by Michigan State, 61-14 last week. My daughter-in-law took the column photo of me on the field at Kinnick Stadium. I’ll tell her she’s turning into a star. Thanks for the nice words about the old days at the paper. The "Register Report" column/news stories we did, plus other commentaries we wrote, were what made the sports section what it was a number of years ago. Naturally, assorted editorial department knuckleheads [some of whom are still around] thought a few of us were editorializing more than necessary, so they asked that "AP-style" coverage be used on college football and basketball instead. White is deceased, Turnbull and I are retired--at least from newspaper writing. Circulation continues dropping at the local paper. The writing and the circulation are never going to be like they once were].


I struck a nerve with a man nicknamed “Born a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye” when I wrote a column a few days ago about how happy I am that Notre Dame is no longer a candidate for the Bottom Ten collegiate football rankings.

Here’s “Born’s” e-mail:

“I have called for the men in white jackets as Maly has obviously lost his fucking mind! He needs a couple of days with Steve Deace to get him back into reality.”

--Born a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: Hey, “Born,” I was just trying to stay on the good side of my Catholic friends—and I have a few—by saying something nice about Charlie Weis and his Fighting Irish. They sure took care of Tyrone Willingham and his Washington team Saturday. All it took for Notre Dame to suddenly succeed was to hire an overweight alumnus with a flat-top haircut and four Super Bowl rings. Meanwhile, “Born,” chill out, will you. Yes, I’m forwarding your e-mail to Deace].


Gordy Scoles, a native Iowan who now lives in Bennettsville, S.C., writes about South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and former Army football standout Doc Blanchard:


“I enjoyed your comments on the Iowa and Iowa State games. The Old Ball Coach rolled over Troy, but there aren't too many inflated I-AA teams in the SEC. A few, believe it or not, but Troy's in the Sun Belt. For the millions of young football fans who have never heard of Doc Blanchard, the 1945 Heisman winner, I can proudly say he is a native of Marlboro County. Felix Anthony Blanchard was born in McColl, S.C., although his family lived in Bishopville, S.C. Little Doc's dad was a doctor, so Felix's mother came home to McColl to have the future hall of famer. Doc Blanchard's cousin was Jim Tatum, also a native of McColl, and a coach of the year at Maryland in the Fifties. Tatum also coached at North Carolina and Oklahoma, although OU no longer claims him. Enough S.C. history.

“Thanks for the columns."

Gordy Scoles

[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: The Old Ball Coach is Spurrier. I wrote about Blanchard and Glenn Davis, the Army stars of the 1940s, last week after Iowa State managed to avoid the Black Knights’ upset attempt, 28-21. Good hearing from you again, Gordy].


Here's the latest e-mail from Sandy Madden of Boone:


“ I am a Hawkeye fan no matter what, but I have to say that the Cyclone athletic program should be commended for being so gracious and generous in giving the mentor program free tickets to the [Oct. 8] Baylor game, so that the mentors can take their mentees to the game. I have been a mentor for six years. I know that their tickets are in demand this year and we appreciate it. I don't mind the Cyclone team and coaches [McCarney having Hawkeye blood]. It's their disgusting fans I don’t like. I plan on attending the game with my mentee!


[RON MALY’S COMMENTS: I asked Sandy to explain the mentor program. She said, "Mentors meet with a child who needs some guidance and reassurance. They usualy come from a broken home and lack the necessary elements needed to cope with society. It is a volunteer job and I have been with my girl for 5 years. She is first-year middle school and does not have a female person in her life. I spend an hour a week with her and we do fun things like play games, go for lunch, go shopping and girl things. Her teachers evaluate the child and they tell me that they have seen a vast change in her. She is a good kid who is not shown a lot of love and attention at home. There are mentees waiting for mentors. A lot of kids benefit from this program and I am glad to be a part of it. The football game is one of the things that the youth and shelter program has invited us to this year. They are the sponsors of the mentor program. Thanks for asking." Thanks for doing a great, job, Sandy!]

Vol. 4, No. 383
Sept. 25, 2005