- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 11, 2009

THEY SAID WHAT?

“We’re a team of gentlemen, we’re a team of class and a team of individuals that respect each other. You’re not going to get any [negativity].” - Kevin Garnett after Friday’s loss to Cleveland, the Boston Celtics’ fourth straight defeat

Memo to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham:

We’ve got your back, buddy. The media are looking out for you, especially the writers and broadcasters who voted your team - the only unbeaten big-time college football team in the country - No. 2 in the final AP poll. As opposed to your fellow coaches, some of whom you probably considered friends, who voted the Utes No. 4 despite their 13-0 record.

Now you know who you can really count on. The press might stumble on the nuances of the Eagle Weak defense or the 41 Flash Pass, but it grasps the bigger picture. Besides, most media members pay closer attention and vote themselves, unlike some coaches who have a sports information person or their paper boy do the voting.

Look, no team was going to leapfrog Florida to No. 1. The Gators are too good and too fast, and Tim Tebow is too all-around wonderful. Even though you lobbied hard, you probably understand this. But No. 2 is mighty impressive for a team from a conference that sounds like an airline. Wait, there actually was a Mountain West Airlines. Anyway, you won ‘em all and beat four Top 25 teams, including Alabama, which lost only to you and the Gators. And you beat ‘Bama by more.

So, Coach, the next time you’re at a convention or golf outing chatting up one of your coaching “pals” and some reporter comes up to beg a minute or two of your time, you might want to stop what you’re doing and give it. Give it gladly.

TWT FIVE ” HEISMAN QUARTERBACKS

Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Florida’s Tim Tebow, the past two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, are considering turning pro. Here’s how the five previous Heisman QBs have fared in the NFL:

2006: Troy Smith, Ohio State - Tonsillitis cost him the opportunity to compete for the Baltimore Ravens’ starting job this year. Rookie Joe Flacco grabbed the chance by the throat.

2004: Matt Leinart, Southern Cal - Hurt and ineffective since Arizona picked him 10th in 2006. He has shown up more in Internet party photos than on the field.

2003: Jason White, Oklahoma - Weak arm, bad knees, no pro career.

2002: Carson Palmer, Southern Cal - No. 1 pick in 2003 was a Pro Bowl selection with Cincinnati despite suffering a bad knee injury in the 2005 playoffs and missing most of 2008 with a sore elbow.

2001: Eric Crouch, Nebraska - Converted to receiver by St. Louis, but he still wanted to play quarterback. Could play neither, it turned out.

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