August 8th Jump Off

The final five have been revealed in the Down the Drive Ring of Honor voting. You have until the season opener against Austin Peay to vote.

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Bearcat News

2011 Defensive Preview Part II
Here's a solid analysis from Tim Adams over at 247 Sports. This is one of the final spots in their series analyzing each position group for the Bearcats heading into the 2011 season but this is the only one you don't have to be a member to read. An in depth look of the defensive backfield and punter. For the DBs they had a rough year with blow coverages, lack of interceptions, and poor tackling. I think they will improve as a group because of better play out of the defensive line as a better pass rush will lead to less accurate passes and hopefully more picks. Overall though, players need to step up. At the punter position, Pat O'Donnell is a lock as the starter and could take home All Big East and All American accolades come season end.

Another Rookie Starter On O-Line?
Don't look now but Jason Kelce is skyrocketing up the depth charts in Philadelphia. He was drafted by the Eagles to play center and joins Trent Cole and Brent Celek as recent Bearcats who have gone on to have phenomenal careers in Philly. Most analysts figured he was going to be in the mix as a 2nd or 3rd string center especially considering offensive line usually takes a year or two to adjust to when you are moving from the college to the NFL. Well in a few short weeks with the Eagles he has made such an impression that he is pushing Jamaal Jackson for the C-1 spot. Looks like the Eagles are finding that there's a lot of talent to be had in Cincinnati.

J.K. says bring it
We all know J.K. has all the talent in the world and leads by example at linebacker. This is seen in his 100+ tackle seasons the past two years. But he has been criticized a bit by the coaching staff for not being much of a vocal leader. I think we'll see that changed this fall is this quote to the naysayers means anything. At such a vital position like linebacker where you have to be asked to do a lot of things, he has excelled at it. If he can just improve this facet of his game, J.K. will be the complete package.

Recruiting

Caring Is Creepy 2012: Have A Seat, Laron Taylor - Black Heart Gold Pants
For the most part Friday was a huge recruiting day for UC. But there was another player not in the mix with Dennis Norfleet, Leviticus Payne, and Lester Liston. And that kid is Laron Taylor out out Cass Tech High School in Detroit, Michigan. Cass Tech is a college football player factory and starting in roads there would have been good for Cincinnati. Being 2nd best to Taylor was positive for UC's relationship there but actually landing him would have made a better impression on the coaches there and future recruits. Taylor is a talented outside linebacker who will do well at Iowa but quite frankly with the linebackers they signed in the 2010 and 2011 classes, depth isn't exactly an issue there like at Cincinnati. Perhaps playing in the Big Ten did it for him or the fact that UC fans weren't whoring themselves out on Twitter. Regardless, UC landed Lester Liston essentially as a replacement for Taylor and, not to sound bitter, it seems like they got the better of the two. By the way, it's spelled C-I-N-C-I-N-N-A-T-I.

Around the BEast

Big East Players Poll - The Dominion Post
Check out the nine question poll done by The Dominion Post for Big East players. Seems like unlike most media polls and fans, the players seem to take Zach Collaros over Geno Smith to win the offensive MVP next year. Isaiah Pead also got tons of love in that poll. On the defensive side, J.K. Schaffer and Bruce Irvin of WVU tied for the top spot. West Virginia, understandably, took home the poll on who would win the Big East and Charlie Strong was rated the coach most players would want to play for other than their own.

Rivals.com College Football - West Virginia poised to top Big East
Rivals runs down the Big East in their conference-by-conference predictions for next season. Not surprisingly West Virginia takes their top spot to win the Big East. I'm surprised with some of their picks, though, as they tabbed Savon Huggins, the highly rated Rutgers signee, as the best offensive newcomer. He's got talent but the problem is that he's playing behind what was a porous offensive line last season under a new coordinator. In addition, the fact that they tab Bruce Irvin of West Virginia as overrated is ridiculous. Maybe they're holding him to stupid high standards but he's a force at DE. Also, what takes the cake is that they have Cincinnati finish seventh, again. I call shenanigans on that, Rivals.

Larkin departs DePaul due to "medical condition" | DailyHerald.com Blogs
Bad news for the Blue Demons as one of their recruits for the 2011 class Shane Larkin will not be making it to campus this fall. The poor just seem to keep getting poorer as he was probably going to be tabbed for some playing time next season. I was actually rooting for Larkin as he is the son of former Cincinnati Red Barry Larkin and, if I'm not mistaken, I think went to the same grade school as me (go Bluehawks!). It's a shame but I respect Larkin for his decision.

Around the Nation

A short history of Tony La Russa's complaints | August
If you're tired of the Cardinals constant attitude and complaints, here's why you know La Russa is the source of all of it. As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I've seen my share of controversy that is spurred by La Russa running his mouth. Listen, we all know you're a great manager but you're only tarnishing your own record by being a blowhard of Colin-Cowherd proportions. You can win all the world championships you want but you're a classless human being.

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