Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tim Tebow ...

Say this about Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels — he certainly isn't afraid to put his stamp on the franchise.

Barely a year into his tenure, he's taken his second big chance at the quarterback position with the first-round selection of Florida's Tim Tebow in the NFL Draft.

There probably wasn't another team that considered Tebow worthy of a first-round pick, given his slow release and the incompatibility of the offensive scheme he ran at Florida with established NFL systems.

McDaniels apparently sees something that others don't, and it seems fair to say that he shares a few characteristics with his mentor, Bill Belichick — neither is lacking for confidence in their judgment nor their ability to tick people off.

Remember last year, when not long after the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator took the Denver job, McDaniels alienated quarterback Jay Cutler by expressing interest in Matt Cassel, who he had worked with in New England, and eventually traded him to Chicago.

Both are what I call "genius or idiot" decisions. If they work, McDaniels is a genius. If they don't, he might not be in Denver long.

That's the same tack I take on some of my high school football picks each fall. Thankfully, my job doesn't depend on my accuracy rate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Henley to North Oldham ...

Carlisle County native David Henley, who led Covington Holmes to the state championship in 2009, has been named the new head basketball coach at North Oldham.

It's an interesting move with an interesting connection — North Oldham's principal is Lisa Jarrett, who was the principal at Marshall County when Henley was the runner-up to Gus Gillespie for the Marshall coaching job six years ago.

Henley, a starter on Carlisle's 1983 state runner-up squad, has been rumored as a prime candidate to be the coach at the consolidated McCracken County High School, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lone Oak bears watching ...

Spring break is over, and that is when high school baseball starts to get serious. The All A Classic regional tournament begins this week, and some of the bigger schools wade into district play.

Lone Oak meets Paducah Tilghman on Tuesday at Brooks Stadium after a nice trip to Florida that saw the Purple Flash beat one state-ranked team (No. 18 Glasgow) and two clubs (Glasgow and Somerset) that were undefeated before falling to Lone Oak.

The Flash (10-3) went 3-2 in Florida, also beating a team from Ohio, but the week ended on a slightly down note with losses to Russell County and North Bullitt.

"I think we found out that if we make plays," coach Geno Miller said, "we're capable of beating good teams. But we also found out that when we don't, we can lose to just about anybody on our schedule."

Lone Oak's young squad has plenty of long-term potential — the question is whether it will start to fulfill it this spring. Junior Eric Winn, who is also Lone Oak's catcher, was on the mound for the 7-1 win over Somerset. Freshman Lucas Englert worked five innings in the 3-1 win over Glasgow, getting relief help from senior Jesse Turner.

Englert is likely to draw the mound assignment against Tilghman, primarily because "it's his turn to pitch," Miller said.

Comparing scores in baseball is not a sound strategy, given the differences in pitching matchups, but Glasgow bombed First Region favorite Graves County 15-2 last week. Lone Oak also beat the Carroll (Ohio) team that beat Graves 6-4.

• There is no clear-cut favorite for the All A Classic, which begins on Tuesday at two sites, Murray and Mayfield. Murray hosts for the rest of the week and the two-time defending champion Tigers are again a top contender.

St. Mary is the No. 1 seed, followed by Murray, Ballard Memorial, Heath and Reidland.

We'll take a closer look at the tournament in Tuesday's Sun.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lone Oak-Male ... maybe not

Some overzealous Lone Oak fans took to the Internet this week to tell the state high school football community that the Purple Flash — Class 4A state runners-up in two of the last three seasons — had scheduled a regular-season game with traditional power Louisville Male for the upcoming season.

The reports were, shall we say, a bit premature. The game could happen, although it isn't likely at this point. Here's the situation:

Lone Oak is scheduled to play at Green County on Oct. 1, the return game in the two-year contract — the Flash pounded Green 52-20 last season.

Male has an open date the same week and is seeking to add a game since it lost the next week's date with Shelby County, a Class 6A school which is splitting into two schools in the fall. Male has been advertising the opening and had some discussions with Lone Oak.

The Flash, however, still is contractually bound to play Green County. Lone Oak could negotiate a buyout, but Green might choose to take a hard line because it would cost them a home gate.

Lone Oak would like to host Male next season in the ongoing effort to beef up its schedule — the Flash will also make the return visit to Lexington Catholic, which it beat 52-49 in overtime last season.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Willis to Coffeyville ... sound familiar?

The news that Calloway County football star Tyrrell Willis will play for Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College this fall brings back memories of Joe Casey, the all-state and all-American tailback from Paducah Tilghman.

Casey, who led the Tornado to the Class 3A semifinals in 2003, dropped out of school late in the first semester, a move that complicated the recruitment process. Casey eventually enrolled into a bridge program and was eligible to play at Coffeyville in the fall of 2004, but he opted not to return to Coffeyville for the start of preseason practice.

Willis has some academic issues, which is why he will enroll at Coffeyville. He isn't a qualifier for NCAA freshman eligibility under, so he will have to pick up his associate's degree before moving on to a Division I school in the fall of 2012.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Turley back in the coaching game ...

Curtis Turley, whose long list of previous coaching stops includes Lyon County and Graves County, will be back on the bench next season at the new Martha Layne Collins High.

Collins is the offspring of Shelby County, which is splitting in half at the end of this school year. Ironically, Shelby County is also one of Turley's previous coaching stops.

High school basketball fans should get a medal if they can name all of Turley's previous gigs, which include stops at Berea, Lyon County, Warren Central, Graves County, Henderson County, Greenwood, Shelby County, Lexington Catholic, Louisville Manual and Warren East.

He has been to the Sweet 16 with Warren Central, Henderson County and Greenwood.

One of Turley's first duties will be to try and keep his most talented player in the fold. Freshman guard Darryl Hicks, who tossed in 30 points in Shelby County's opening-round loss to eventual runner-up Louisville Ballard, lives in the Collins district. But there are rumors that he will transfer, with schools like Louisville Ballard, Louisville Eastern, Louisville Trinity and Scott County whispered as potential destinations.

• I was watching one of the Fox College Sports channels the other night and stumbled on the Class 3A state championship game in West Virginia, which was won by Logan over Wheeling Park.

Logan's coach is Mark Hatcher, the son of former Marshall County and Graves County coach Allan Hatcher. Mark Hatcher has won two state titles at Logan, which is also his father's hometown.

The elder Hatcher nearly got Perry Central to the Sweet 16 this year, but blew a late lead to Knott Central in the 14th Region finals. Hatcher has been the regional runner-up in each of the last two years — the Commodores were knocked out by archrival Hazard in 2009.

Minor league assignments ...

Former Heath teammates Clint Tilford and Daniel Webb, both of whom turned professional after being selected in Major League Basebal's amateur draft last summer, just completed their first spring training and are awaiting assignment to a minor league team.

Indications are that Tilford, drafted after pitching three seasons at Kentucky, will be assigned to the Colorado Rockies' short-season Class A team in Pasco, Wash. The Tri-City Dust Devils (love the nickname) will begin their season in June. Tilford pitched last season at Casper, Wyo. Until June, Tilford will likely continue to work out at the Rockies' minor league camp in Arizona.

Likewise, Webb will probably stay at the Toronto Blue Jays' camp in Florida for the next month or two. Webb signed just before the deadline last summer and has yet to throw an official professional pitch. Chances are he will pitch in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, which begins play after this year's draft.

Former Murray State pitcher Daniel Calhoun has been assigned to the St. Louis Cardinals' Quad Cities club, which plays in the Class A Midwest League. One of his potential opponents is St. Mary product Eric Roof, who was assigned to West Michigan, the Detroit Tigers' Midwest League entry.

Brandon Braboy, who also played at Heath, is with the New York Yankees' team in Charleston, S.C., in the South Atlantic League. Braboy pitched at Charleston last summer, moving his way into the starting rotation late in the season.

Two more area products will return to the Double-A level — infielder Shawn Roof (St. Mary) at Erie, Pa., in the Detroit system, and former Pope County pitcher Mike Broadway with Mississippi in the Southern League. Broadway struggled at the Class A level, but didn't allow an earned run in nine innings after being promoted to Mississippi late last season.

Roof, Wright swinging solid bats ...

Jonathan Roof might be playing his way into prospect status at Michigan State. Roof, the former St. Mary star with two older brothers in the minor leagues, is hitting .350 for the Spartans with two homers and 19 RBI in 24 games. Roof is tied for second on the team in runs scored and, perhaps most impressively, has made just two errors on the season.

Roof, the Spartans' starting shortstop since the first game of his freshman season, was also selected as the Big Ten player of the week in late February. He is a junior and eligible for Major League Baseball's amateur draft in June and heads the First Region contingent in the Division I ranks.

The same is true for Kentucky sophomore Chad Wright, who keeps putting up good numbers as the Wildcats' starting left fielder. Wright, a Heath product, is hitting .355 with two homers and 22 RBI and leads the team in hits.

Ballard Memorial graduate James Jones is 3-2 with a 4.09 ERA and has been Louisiana-Monroe's most durable starting pitcher, leading the staff in innings pitched this spring. Jones has allowed just 32 hits in 44 innings with 22 walks and 46 strikeouts.

Chad Edwards, who prepped at Reidland, is 4-1 with a 4.71 ERA for Middle Tennessee. Edwards has issued just seven walks and struck out 25 hitters in 36 innings.

Gabriel Shaw, a teammate of Roof at St. Mary, is putting together a strong season in the bullpen at Louisville. Shaw is 3-0 with an 0.98 ERA and a couple of saves, allowing just 14 hits with one walk and 15 strikeouts in 18 innings for the Cardinals.

Dunn undergoes Tommy John surgery ...

Former Carlisle County star Tim Dunn turned down overtures from the Cincinnati Reds last summer, opting to return for his senior season as the ace pitcher at Trevecca Nazarene University.

The gamble didn't pay off. Dunn suffered an elbow injury a couple of weeks ago, leaving a start in the second inning, and underwent Tommy John surgery last week.

Dunn's college career could be over, although Trevecca coach Jonathan Burton is hopeful the school can secure a medical redshirt for Dunn and enable him to pitch again next year.

In nine appearances this spring, Dunn was 4-2 with a 1.61 ERA on the heels of a remarkable 2009 season, in which he was 12-0 with a 1.81 ERA.