(2:49 p.m.): The Bearcats set a new record this morning. They practiced 33 periods (five minutes a piece) at Nippert today, the longest ever workout in the Brian Kelly era. They started at 10 a.m. and finished at 1 p.m. That is not a short amount of time.
It was long and pretty warm. But, with the exception of a few players (senior receiver Mardy “With a ‘D’” Gilyard and sophomore running back Isaiah Pead were two I saw fighting through cramps), the Bearcats seemed pretty well-hydrated and well-conditioned.
The first thing Gilyard thought when he heard the team was going to practice for so long: “I thought I left all that behind.”
Read the rest here.
(1:48 p.m.): Brian Kelly officially has signed his new five-year contract, and you know what that means? It means he thinks the Bearcats are on their way to competing for a BCS title.
Big East titles? Feh. Try national titles. That’s what he wants now. Big change of perspective than when he was hired in 2006.
“Then, we were talking about winning and being competitive in the Big East,” BK said. “Now we can talk about building a national championship program. No, we’re not there yet. This contract really signifies the university’s desires and wants to be a national player. That’s all I wanted. Are you happy just being in the Big East? Or do you want to do this as a BCS program and compete every year at this level? Those decisions had to be made, or I wasn’t signing it. They were able to put those pieces together that makes the university committed to being a BCS program.”
Read the rest right here.
(10:40 a.m.): I sat down with Mick Cronin in early April, and while we discussed the end of last season and what he could expect for next year – as detailed in this blog post – we also got off track a bit.
I asked him about what I perceived as fan negativity with the state of the basketball program. Mick didn’t really address that, probably because he didn’t feel that he needed to answer those types of questions. He said he was more focused on the fans who are with the team – the 6,000 or so that entered Fifth Third Arena for games – than those who wanted to bash him and his players.
It’s perfectly understandable, and when he said that the Mick-bashers were a vast, but vocal, minority, it made sense. If you go by message boards and e-mails, the will of the people says that Mick should have been fired last season after the Bearcats had such a horrendous end to the year. But Mick comes into contact with dozens of more UC basketball fans than I do on a daily basis. For the most part, he said, those people were supportive. Those people wanted to see him stay as the Bearcats coach and to succeed there.
Read the rest here.
(10:44 a.m.): Twice a day, Lionel Jackson and Kenny Anaba find themselves in the warm weather, practicing with teammates they’re still getting to know and trying to understand what their coaches are saying. Twice a day, Jackson and Anaba – former soccer standouts for the Bearcats – feel at home in a land that sits many miles away from Cincinnati. Twice a day, Jackson and Anaba can feel comfortable at last.
“The thing about soccer that’s so beautiful is you don’t have to speak the same language,” Jackson said. “It’s a universal game. But it is really hard communicating with our coach.”
Anaba (who played his final season at UC in 2007 and led the Bearcats with 10 goals that season and finished seventh on the all-time goals list) and Jackson (a two-year starter who finished sixth in the Big East with eight assists in 2007) have spent the past few weeks playing for the Carolina Gigantes FC of the Puerto Rico Soccer League.
Read the rest of this Katz on the Cats entry here.
(12:03 p.m.): Heard about this a couple days ago, but we waited until we got more info before saying anything.
Mike Woods, UC’s first consensus All-American who played from 1975-77, died last week at the age of 54.
“Great guy,” said Jim Kelly Jr., who played with him at UC for two years. “Absolutely wonderful personality. He lived in Cleveland and came in with a lot of talent. A good frame, but thin. He was one of those guys who worked his tail off and put on some nice weight that made him a speciman to look at. He turned out to be a phenomenal football player.”
Read the rest here.