Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Wednesday, January 01, 2003

The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
--Russell Baker (1925 - )

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

This just in from T-Model Tommy Goodloe:

Yo, Peoria Dave!

The U of Oregon’s football season has finally staggered to a close, thank goddess.

Monday’s 38-17 blowout at the hands of mediocre Wake Forest in Seattle’s Toilet Bowl was the final act of a long, depressing scenario -- win your first six games, get people thinking you can actually play, then tank six of your last seven. What a meltdown! If this was a movie, it’d be “The China Syndrome.” Eugene is the Chernobyl of West Coast football.

The agonizing thing about Monday’s loss was how closely it resembled the other five. Supposedly, the Ducks spent the last month or so since the end of the regular season preparing its run-oriented defense to stuff a run-reliant Wake Forest offense. So what happens? The three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-Astroturf crew from North Carolina torches the Ducks with long pass plays. Boom, boom, boom, another humiliating defeat. And this wasn’t Southern Cal or Washington State, but a team that gimped into a bowl game with a .500 record against the likes of Northern Illinois and East Carolina. Given weeks of extra practice, defensive coach Nick Aliotti couldn’t figure out how to cover even a grade-school playground passing attack -- I could almost hear Wake Forest’s quarterback audibling at the line of scrimmage: “Jason, you go deep. Everybody else block and I’ll fling it as far as I can.” (Touchdown!)

The announcement that former Oregon coach Rich Brooks has been resurrected from retirement to coach at the University of Kentucky added a special spin to the Toilet Bowl fiasco.

Brooks coached 18 seasons at Oregon, running up the sparkling record of 91 wins, 109 losses and four ties and finally fluking into the 1995 Rose Bowl. After Penn State finished pounding the Ducks at Pasadena, Brooks took the money and ran to the pros. To no Oregonian’s surprise, the St. Louis Rams fired him after two losing seasons (honorable defeats, moral victories and the like don’t carry much weight in the pros). Brooks retreated to assisting with the Atlanta Falcons and then retirement. Now an old administrative pal from Brooks’ days in Eugene is the athletic director at Kentucky, so friend Rich is being imported to rev up Wildcat football. This is almost too ludicrous to believe. I mean, Brooks has the charisma of a fence post, the media savvy of a totem pole and an overall head-coaching record of 104 wins, 128 losses and 4 ties. Plus, he is 61 years old -- it’s not like the old dog is going to start trotting out a whole passel of new tricks.

The special spin, though, is that the defensive coordinator of the Duck team that made the 1995 Rose Bowl and earned Brooks his two years in the St. Louis sun was none other than Nick Aliotti. Will Brooks, as part of his attempt to build Kentucky football, reach back into the past and lure Aliotti away from Oregon to coach the Wildcat defense? Duck fans can only hope. The much-enjoyed rumor that Aliotti might leave Eugene to become head coach at Sacramento State apparently was untrue. Brooks and Kentucky may be Oregon’s last chance to get rid of Aliotti before another round of humiliations begins next fall.

T-M Tommy G.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
--Oscar Wilde

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