MEMPHIS -- Folks, I love this kid. I really do.
It's a typically fall day in Memphis; leaves rustling, crisp air punctured by the sound of a local field hockey team playing (go Mary-Katherine!). So why am I inside? Well, only one blinding, brilliant flash of brilliance, only one transcendent tower of terrifying talent would force me inside on a day like this.
I was driving away from the Athletic Office Building on the University of Memphis campus, headed for a local coffee shop. No prizes for guessing which one. (It's Starbucks.) I started thinking about the rough-and-tumble nature of the Tigers' win over Southern Miss in Hattiesburg this weekend. It reminded me why I love this game. Of college football.
I am what you might call a traditionalist. Not in the Knute Rockne mold necessarily, but I appreciate all the little things a running back does. Or used to do, right? Wrong. Not anymore.
Not with DeAngelo on the prowl. He's fun and flashy, with enough dirt under his nails to tell you he's a worker, too. He's everything most people aspire to be. (Except Tom Brady or Bill Belichick -- DeAngelo, like all of us, aspires to be them)
A few weeks ago, I was talking with my colleague Ron Tillery, who, by the way, is a heck of a great guy and quite a snappy dresser, and he told me, "Peter, you can't believe how special this young man truly is." And I told him, "Yes, I can." He said, "No, I don't believe you can." I said, "Hold on, I just spilled my $4.50 venti double espresso with a shot of soy milk and extra foam on my groin." And so it went. Two grown men, one with coffee-stained slacks, arguing over the brilliance on one player and its comprehension. Who else could cause this?
He's the all-time NCAA all-purpose yards leader, you know. That ain't bad. Folks, he's the greatest player to ever wear the blue and gray of Memphis. So, why's he talking about Mo Avery?
He's that humble. Mo Avery is his teammate, but more importantly, his friend. DeAngelo and Mo always joke around in the huddle during the games--DeAngelo told a funny story about Mo:
"Mo says some crazy stuff in the huddle. I don't even think I can repeat some of it--one time, he, uh, he was calling a play, then all of a sudden, he goes, 'Hey, look at that fat girl!' He's crazy."
Crazy like a fox. And DeAngelMo has been terrorizing defenses ever since. Yeah, I just made that up, and gang, I think it's a keeper. DeAngelMo. I think I'll get that trademarked.
Player of the Week
Do you even have to ask? Of course not. It's Tom Brady.
Coach of the Week
Tommy West, Memphis. Rock solid. Every week, his team is ready to win. Read that again -- I wrote "ready to win", not "ready to play". Remember to read closely; many times, I will cleverly change things slightly and congratulate myself for it.
Memphis Annoying Travel Note Of the Week
When I was driving down Mendenhall to visit my Sports 56 WHBQ colleagues Eli Savoie and Greg Gaston at It's Gameday, I had to sit and wait on a slow-moving train to pass not once, but twice. Once as I drove to see them, once as I drove back to my office. Come on, Burlington Northern, get your schedules fixed so I don't have to be mildly inconvenienced!
Memphis Factoid that May Interest Only Me
If you rearrage the letters in "DeAngelo Williams", you can spell this phrase: "I lead. Small ego. Win." Indeed.
Memphis Quote of the Week
"I get a little choked up when I start thinking about my last game in the Liberty Bowl."
--Memphis RB DeAngelo Williams
Me too, DeAngelo. Me too.
Stat of the Week
The University of Memphis has outscored its opponents this year in the 2nd quarter by a combined 107-56. What does that mean? You tell me.
Stat of the Week (Bonus)
With a win Saturday, Memphis would be bowl eligible. The only other team within 300 miles of Memphis to be bowl eligible? Alabama.
Saturday Prediction of the Week
As much as I respect Marshall, every Marshall, from Marshall Mathers to discount clothing store Marshall's, they will not be able to dam the waterfall of emotion or destroy the wellspring of history that we will see on Saturday. DeAngelMo will go wild.
"Hey, look at that fat girl."