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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

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Wherein SMQ confronts eligibility-crippling issues: legal, academic and otherwise...

More trouble at the beloved alma mater of SMQ, which is turning into Tallahassee West. First, it was the dismissal of two starters and the one-game suspensions of two others over some night club shenanigans; now, we find out Southern Miss placekicker Darren McCaleb - the only perfect Division I-A field goal kicker of the 2004 regular season - followed a two-field goal, six-PAT performance against whipping boy McNeese State Sept. 18 by assaulting and battering his girlfriend on the school's frat row, which, SMQ can testify, is about as genteel as its name would suggest. Hopefully that's a harsh assessment of the reality, for Coach Jeff Bower and McCaleb, arrested under domestic abuse statutes, are typically tight-lipped:

[Campus police chief Bob] Hopkins would not release the report taken that night, citing privacy issues, nor provide the name of the female. He also declined to provide any specifics regarding the incident.

If found guilty on simple assault, McCaleb would face a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and/or six months jail time. Sentencing under the domestic abuse clause would be left to the judge's discretion.

USM coach Jeff Bower said he took what he considers appropriate measures to punish McCaleb.

"He has been disciplined," Bower said Monday. "I'm not going to discuss it, but it was addressed, and I think the discipline was pretty serious."
"I'm sorry, and I respect you all to death, but I can't say anything right now," McCaleb said to reporters. "You learn lessons from everything you do."
The discipline, whatever it was, may have been "pretty serious," but not serious enough to prevent McCaleb from tying a school record with four field goals in the Eagles' 33-7 win over East Carolina Saturday. Nor was the discipline against star cornerback John Eubanks and tight end Pedi Causey, supposedly suspended for the team's first game against Tulane, serious enough to uphold when the Tulane game was postponed due to Hurricane Katrina; both played in the de facto opener against Alabama, with Eubanks serving as captain at the opening coin flip before giving up a 52-yard completion to Tyrone Prothro on the game's first play from scrimmage that set up Alabama's first score in the 30-21 Tide win...

[Deep breath]

In other, less violent news, a couple of apologies for very naughty language by noted author and sportswriter-spends-a-year-inside-the-belly-of-the-beast pioneer John Feinstein and spectacular sibling Marcus Vick.

Feinstein, who wrote the book A Civil War: Army vs. Navy, pulled himself from a Navy broadcast and offered to resign after uttering some unidentified, unfathomably horrible word that melted the children's ears and weakened the women's knees after an apparent Duke penalty went uncalled on the Devils' successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 21 (the valiant fighting men of our armed forces overcame the forces of tyranny and evil - those ivory tower-dwelling Devils! - to win anyway, 28-21):

Feinstein pulled himself from the rest of the broadcast and offered an on-air apology at the end of the game. He also immediately offered his resignation, but it was rejected.

"It was an inexcusable mistake," Feinstein said Tuesday. "I regretted it probably some kind of nano second after it was out of my mouth. I apologize to everybody who was listening and to the people at the academy who have been great to me and to my partners in the booth."

Strasemeier said because of Feinstein's busy schedule, he was only hired to be the radio color commentator for the games the Midshipmen have played against Maryland, Stanford and Duke and Saturday's game against Air Force in Annapolis.

Strasemeier said he received only one e-mail about what happened -- a request from a fan to retain Feinstein.
. Less apologetic is Vick, who failed to match Feinstein's level of virtuous backpedalling by merely apologizing - with no thought of offering to quit the team or even step down as the Hokies' starting quarterback - after flipping the bird to West Virginia fans during V-Tech's win Saturday:

"I apologize for letting my emotions get the best of me Saturday," Vick said in a statement issued Sunday by Virginia Tech. "What I did was wrong and I am sorry. My goal is to be a leader of this team and do things the right way."

Vick said he would have no further comment.

"In the heat of the moment, he made a mistake," said Billy Hite, an associate head coach for the Hokies. "Marcus knows he can't react like that."
. Maybe the kid wouldn't be so on edge if the school hadn't killed his buzz last year.
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8:52 PM

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