As you may have noticed, I'm not as down on college football beat writers as a class as some bloggers. The reasons are many and varied, but here are the high points:
1) It's not glamorous work. I have it on good authority that Columbus Ledger-Enquirer beat writer David Ching actually got gored by a buffalo during the Colorado game last season. Or maybe it was the other way around. I can't remember.
2) It doesn't pay very well. The next time you read something a beat writer penned and say "I could do better than that" ask yourself this: could you do better for 14 grand a year and all the pressbox chicken fingers you can eat on gameday? Right. So stop your complaining.
3) It's generally thankless. Really, how many of you have not used the name "Carter Strickland" and the F-bomb in the same sentence? And just think, your name's not even Caleb King.
4) They have the impossible task of writing things that are interesting to thousands without offending anyone. As Kyle and I can tell you, that's a very tall order.
So I thought it would be worthwhile to point out some good work done by the foot soldiers of football journalism around the SEC as we head toward kickoff. They're often nameless and faceless, but they're chock full of pigskin information, to wit:
The Shreveport Times reports that former Tennessee/College of the Sequoias/Ole Miss quarterback Brent Schaffaw has voluntarily moved to wide receiver. Head Coach Ed Orgeron already admitted that naming Schaffer the starter before he set foot on campus was a mistake. This move seems calculated to make the most of Schaeffer's size and athletic ability, now that it appears that he's not going to be in a position to take snaps. Orgeron needs to take advantage of the athlets he has on the roster in every way he can, so I think it's probably a sound personnel move. I for one live in fear of the day when Ole Miss ultimately sacks The Orgeron. It will probably go down in Oxford area lore as "the day we do not speak of" or "the day of wailing and moaning". Or maybe they'll reserve those titles for the date of the LSU game. It's a tossup. Yaw.
What's not a sound move? That would be whatever tailback LaMarcus Coker did that got him indefinitely suspended from the Tennessee football team. The rumor floating down from the hills is that Coker was pinched for his third failed drug test. If so, then I think his problems go far beyond playing time. Now would be a good time to see how Coach Fulmer's stated goal of having a more disciplined team holds up. How long will he sit a guy who he seems to clearly be pulling for, but who has spent copious amounts of time in the doghouse. If the poll posted over at Rocky Top Talk is any indication, Vol fans have made up their mind about their mercurial tailback and moved on. This may partly be because they have Arian Foster, Montario Hardesty and Lennon Creer to comfort them.
Dave Curtis of the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has a story on the Florida Gators unique approach to motivation in the strength and conditioning program. While it's not strictly beat writer produced, it also appears the Gator fans may have discovered that Tim Tebow doesn't walk on water and turn Yoo-Hoo into bourbon. At least not every day.
Seth Emerson of The State reports that South Carolina starting guard Garrett Anderson broke his hand in a fight with teammate Ladi Ajiboye Sunday night and is missing some practice time as a result. Garrett, trust the voice of experience, punching a guy in a football helmet is generally a bad move. Perhaps this is evidence of why USC President Andrew Sorenson was right about those pesky academic standards. I mean if these are the escapades of the ones they actually let in . . .
Chip Towers of the AJC has been doing yeoman's work in the blogosphere with excellent results. Chip reports that Jeff Owens is benching 540 lb. and is an absolute beast, and that Coach Searels seems like "he'd just as soon get a root canal as be interviewed for a story." That's how I like my offensive line coaches. Surly, profane and clad in a sweatshirt in 105 degree heat. This is good news.
David Ching also reports that Bryan Evans' hamstring is looking better than expected (well, I don't think he actually physically inspected it, but you know what I'm saying), John Knox will wear No. 32 and Corvey Irvin will probably see a lot of PT this season.
So, as you get ready to tailgate, don't forget to hug your local college football beat writer. They're people too. Until later,