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Bearcats Nation continutes to run down the position groups. Yesterday was the corners today the safeties. Drew Frey has locked up one spot. The other is up for grabs. Chris projects Pat Lambert to replace Wesley Richardson at free safety. Not a chance. Lambert was given a shot as the starting Nickle in 2010. Outside of his play against Fresno State, which was decent, he was a bit of a dumpster fire. Chris Williams replaced him as the starting Nickle after the North Carolina State game, and the secondary improved. The fact that he has been contained to special teams since speaks volumes about his playing ability.
Lambert has the physical talent to be productive but he hasn't put it all together. Nor will he. I fully realize that the exact same statement could be said about Drew Frey after 2010. The difference is that Frey had the chance to work through his issues and has become, against all odds a strength of this defense. Lambert won't get that chance because for one there was no one to even challenge Frey while he struggled. He was winning the job unopposed. Lambert has competition from Malcolm Murray who is coming off an ACL tear and Adrian Witty who has been moved over from corner. The Witty move is illuminating. I don't think for a second he would have been moved to safety if the staff was comfortable with Lambert as the starter. And lastly its not helping his cause that his biggest advocate on the top floor of the Lindner Center (read: Kerry Coombs) is gone-
The Basketball Team
wound up in the final top 25 poll of the year at 18. I am in no mood/position to bitch about the ranking. UC did beat 5 of the teams ranked above them this year. UC also had more wins against teams that were ranked at the time of the meeting (8) than anyone else in the country. But where UC is ranked this year is a sideshow.
Its fare more important for the Bearcats to be ranked because of the symbolism of being ranked. It's impossible to say at this point that UC isn't back. Not back to the heights of 1998-2002. But back among the best programs in the nation, a position, a standard of living if you will that was maintained throughout the 90's and early 00's. Oh and it's officially impossible at this point to bitch about Mick Cronin being somehow not good enough. He might not be the best coach in the country, but he is damn good-
The Bearcat Bowl VI format
has been announced and it will be a regular game. Well sort of. Unlike in years past under Jones the format calls for a game rather than a glorified or actual scrimmage. But the other difference is that the squad won't be broken up into a white and a black team, as has been customary for as long as I have been going to the things. Instead it will be offense vs defense. Which presumably means best on best, which is fine by me. Keep in mind that last year Butch said that he wouldn't go have a spring game until he felt that he had the depth to make the "game" worthwhile. Take this as an indication that he likes the depth of this years team-
Video(s) of Interest
Butch Jones interview after yesterday's practice...Nippert panorama from yesterday's practice...Bearcats third at Marsh Landing Invite...Susan Seaton honored as coach of the year...Harpenau named Sportswoman Of The Year, a richly deserved honor...There are four programs making the leap to the FBS level in 2012. Hard to beleive that any of them have nicer facilities than South Alabama...Oregon's new academic center has pictures of Phil Knight In the women's bathrooms. And they look as creepy as that last sentence sounded...Good year for Baylor no?...Gotta love a hard core foreign policy treatise that makes an allusion to Dr. Strangelove.