Joe Santoro’s Friday Fodder
November 22, 2007
JOE SANTORO’S FRIDAY FODDER
Sometimes a little extra exposure isn’t a good thing. The way the Wolf Pack managed the clock in the final couple minutes a week ago against Hawaii on ESPN2 angered a radio talk show host halfway across the country.
Jesse Rogers, of WSCR-AM in Chicago, went on a five-minute rant last Saturday morning and wondered out loud why Nevada athletic director Cary Groth doesn’t fire Ault. Rogers wondered why the Pack waited until there were just 15 seconds on the clock before calling timeout before Hawaii kicked the game-winning field goal.
“He’s clueless about clock management,” bellowed Rogers. “He wasted over a minute before calling timeout. This idiot Chris Ault lets the clock wind down to 15 seconds. What a complete moron. If I’m the athletic director at Nevada, I’m firing him this morning.”
Rogers also questioned why the Pack, up 26-25 at the time, called timeout on offense with 3:08 to play before a third-and-5 situation at the Hawaii 36 and then just ran the ball up the middle again for a 1-yard gain.
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Ault, who has been pampered for the most part by the local media during his three decades as a coach and administrator, did get a bit conservative down the stretch last Friday. He obviously doesn’t have a ton of confidence in quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ability to win a game with his arm.
Ault also did waste about 30 seconds of precious time (not a minute like Rogers insists) before calling timeout before Hawaii’s game-winning kick, leaving the Pack offense a mere five seconds to work with. So, yes, the Pack coaches deserve as much blame for that loss as anyone.
But calling him a moron? An idiot? Saying he’s clueless and should be fired? That’s a bit strong. But there’s a couple things you should know about Rogers. The guy is a 1991 graduate of Northern Illinois University (yes, the same school that sent Groth to the Wolf Pack) and his radio show is called “Hit and Run.” What else was he going to talk about on a Saturday morning? Notre Dame football?
We blame it on ESPN2. If the game was not on ESPN2, Ault’s decisions would never have been questioned nationally. The only reason some radio guy in Chicago even cared about the game was because he found himself watching it at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Rogers likely had never heard of Ault (or Wolf Pack football) before the game. Sometimes a big fat paycheck from television just isn’t worth it in the long run, right? Who are we kidding? Of course it is worth it. If the only price you pay is some goofball radio guy in Chicago calling you a moron, well, bring on the lights, camera, action.
The 5-5 record is nothing to be excited about, but haven’t you thoroughly enjoyed this Wolf Pack football season? We can’t remember a season with so many exciting games. True, many of them have ended in defeat but, hey, it’s been entertaining. The wild overtime game against Boise, the comeback in the fourth quarter by an unknown quarterback named Kaepernick against Fresno State and the hold-your-breath loss to Hawaii have all been good theater. Even the loss to Northwestern was end-of-the-seat fun. As well as the victories over New Mexico State and Utah State. It’s been a season to remember, even if the Hall of Fame coach is being called an idiot and a moron by 30-something radio geek in Chicago. Hey, it’s better than being called a moron by a 40-something newspaper geek in Carson City.
It’s about time they give out a trophy to the winner of the Wolf Pack-UNLV men’s basketball game. Football has a cannon. Basketball has nothing. The media doesn’t even make a big deal about the basketball rivalry, despite the fact that the two schools’ basketball teams (not football) are the ones that are nationally known. Here’s an idea. How about giving the winner of the Pack-Rebel basketball game a week with Jerry Tarkanian? The winner gets Tark for a full week and they can do with him whatever they want. If the Pack wins, they can paint his hair and face blue and make him serve beers at Bully’s. UNLV could have him go out on recruiting trips. Why not? Who else has a real, live, living, breathing trophy?
What, exactly, are the Los Angeles California Anaheim Angels of Disneyland and Orange County thinking? Do they really need Torii Hunter? And why did they give him $90 million for five years? Didn’t they give Gary Matthews Jr. $50 million for five years last year to play center field? These are all questions the Angels should have asked themselves. If they had almost $20 million a year to throw away, why didn’t they open up the vault a little wider and go get Alex Rodriguez? Rodriguez at least plays a position that the Angels need filled.
Randy Moss is having a wonderful season. No question. But It’s about time the national media reminds everyone how he stole money from the Oakland Raiders the last two years. Moss should be ashamed for the effort he put forth in a Raiders uniform. But it doesn’t matter now, does it. The national media is calling him a Hall of Famer and better than Jerry Rice because, well, the national media has the perspective of a day old piece of bread. Raider fans, though, know better. They will never forget the Moss of 2005 and 2006. Talk about cheaters. Guys who use steroids aren’t half the cheaters that the lazy, selfish Moss was in a Raider uniform.
It’s going to be nice to see Tom Glavine back in an Atlanta Braves uniform next year. He just never looked right in a New York Mets uniform. It’s too bad the Braves couldn’t throw $10 million Greg Maddux’s way so we could see Glavine, Maddux and John Smoltz back together in Atlanta. And, no, seeing Russ Ortiz in a San Francisco Giants uniform last year again didn’t give me the same warm and fuzzy feeling.
ESPN had the nerve this week to compare Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to rapper Snoop Dogg. The sports network that obviously has too much air time on its hands, believes Romo’s improvisational skills are similar to Snoop’s. What’s next? Comparing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and singer Seal for their ability to get models pregnant?
By the way, why didn’t Hawaii play Colt Brennan more than two plays last week against Nevada? Brennan obviously was healthy enough to play (he completed his only two passes) and he said after the game that he wanted to stay in the game. Is it because Hawaii didn’t respect Nevada? Is it because Hawaii didn’t care whether or not they lost and that this week’s game against Boise State is the only one that matters? Is it because Hawaii coach June Jones knew that any quarterback who can chew gum and walk at the same time can shred the Wolf Pack secondary?
We need to stop overreacting to every little cliché coaches toss out there. Alabama football coach Nick Saban didn’t do anything wrong when he mentioned the 9/11 disaster and Pearl Harbor after the Crimson Tide’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Saban wasn’t saying that a loss in a football game is the same as those two historic tragedies. He didn’t say his team is suffering as much as the victims of those two horrible events. Saban is just a football coach throwing out clichés. It’s time we start giving coaches a break and not jump all over them every chance we get.
Joe Torre isn’t going to bring Alex Rodriguez with him to Los Angeles. He isn’t getting Mariano Rivera. All he brought with him is a couple of old coaches in Larry Bowa and Don Mattingly. Sorry, Dodger fans, you also don’t get the Yankees 26 World Series rings. You just get a guy to sit in the corner of the dugout and look funny and out of place wearing your uniform. What are the Dodgers doing, hiring a Yankee to manage their team? What, aren’t there any old Dodgers around? What about Kirk Gibson? Orel Hershiser? Davey Lopes? Go steal Mike Scioscia from the Angels. All of those guys would have made more sense than Torre.
The New England Patriots need to stop running the score up every week. Yes, players are adults and get paid a lot of money to get their rear ends whipped by the Patriots. But It’s time the Patriots showed a little class. The NFL isn’t supposed to be Nebraska vs. Kansas in the 1970s and ’80s (funny how things change, huh?). The Patriots and Bill Belichick make you appreciate what the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning did last year more and more with each passing week.
• Joe Santoro’s column appears every Friday in the Appeal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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