All righty loyal reader(s), time for another installment of U.C. Football. First off I have read a couple of postings about the preseason drills in Indiana and the results have been nothing but favorable. I believe the Enquirer posted an article about the Tuberville effect and how the opening game with Purdue is sold out or about to be, as happened last time when the Boilermakers came to town in 2001.
Now let’s finish our discussion on fans. Now I have heard reports about fans abusing players, coaches and on-field personnel. I have no doubt that this goes on, and it’s shameful. This should not happen, and players and coaches have every right to be upset about this. Booing and criticizing their performance is one thing, but to listen to comments about family and other non-football related issues is way out of bounds.
The crew where I used to sit certainly did our share of razzing, but I never thought we stepped over any lines or anything. We weren’t perfect. I swore at players and officials. I am not proud of that and I deeply regret it. But I thought we policed ourselves, which is why it never got out of hand.
We all knew where the line was, and didn’t over-step it. If someone had (and I don’t remember any incidents) we would have told that person that comment was not acceptable and don’t do it again. I would advise fans if you are sitting somewhere and people are getting too rowdy to go get an usher AND a police officer(s). Usually this will solve the problem. Again, it’s too bad that this goes on, and it goes on everywhere, but it can usually be dealt with in a civil manner.
One player I did not talk about from the Gino/Trent Cole years was Richard Hall, another one of my all-time favorites. I actually knew of Richard long before U.C. as I watched him play for Wyoming High School and Coach Bernie Barre. He simply was one of the best high school running backs I have ever seen. He was strong, fast, and he ran HARD. Real hard.
What I remember most about him was although he was much more talented than his opposition he never coasted or played down to his level of competition. Just a great, hard-nosed athlete. He set a lot of records in High School, one of which I think was the total touchdowns scored mark. The guy ran for like 7,000 yards in THREE years and was a great basketball player as well. He had the work ethic and the charisma where he would just carry teams on his back and will them to victory. After High School he signed with Ohio State but that didn’t work out. He came back to U.C. and had a fine career. I think he may have rushed for 1,000 yards in his senior year. I have not kept up with him since he left school but I hope he’s doing well. One of my all-time favorites.
The Bearcats began 2005 minus Gidugli, Cole, Hall and bunch of others. Dustin Grutza, a redshirt freshman, took over at QB. The Cats struggled to a 4-7 record, losing the final three. One of those was a nationally televised 38-0 loss to West Virginia, who had Pat White who wound up breaking a lot of Mountaineer records. This was my second time dealing with Mountaineer fans, which was a rather interesting experience.
The first time was 2000 or 2001 when we lost when Groza award winner Jonathan Ruffin’s game-ending field goal hit off the crossbar and we lost. I remember they had a lot of fans at both games. They traveled very well back then. I wonder if they still do now that they are in the Big 12 and have to go half-way across the country for away games. A lot of them were very excitable, and some of them told me that they liked coming here because we were one of the few stadiums that served beer.
My lasting memory of 38-0 game was halftime when I went down to use the rest room and all the lines were packed full of Mountaineer fans waiting to use the rest room or get beer!! I mean you literally could not move anywhere. I had never seen anything like it. I had to wait until mid third quarter before I could do anything. Their fans were like any others: some obnoxious, but they had a few that were really nice and I sat with them the entire fourth quarter.
They even invited me to Morgantown the next year, which was really nice of them. All in all, it was a long year but we got to play a lot of young players who would really help us in the coming years build us back up to the excellence that we now enjoy. Next week I will write about the turnaround season of 2006 and the Rutgers game in particular. That was one of the best and exciting games I have ever seen.
Just want to leave with one more thought. This year the Reds are playing well again and look like they are headed to the post-season again. Congratulations and I am happy for the fans and the entire organization. I just watched the Bengals first pre-season game and they look very good and a lot of people are predicting they will win their division and have another great year. Again, congratulations and I wish their fans and organization nothing but the best. I comment on this because it looks like these are the two main factors that may have an impact on the Bearcats attendance.
I hope the Cats draw well but we are in a rare situation where we have a major college football program in the same city with two successful pro sports franchises. Right now I can only think of one other program in the country like us and that’s Boston College, who’s struggled in recent years. I hope enough people in Cincinnati will want to support the Bearcats. It’s a great team with a great product. I will certainly do my part if I have the time and money. See ya next week!!