If you are a head coach at a major college football program and a professional rugby player from Australia shows up on your door step for a recruiting visit, what do you do? If you are Tommy Tuberville…you offer him a scholarship. Lindsay Crook and his father toured across America last spring looking for a team that would give Lindsay a shot at playing college football. He’s has never played the sport but he was a rising star in rugby and wanted to give “American Football” a shot. His resume tape showed that he had all of the skills needed to be successful on the gridiron so after his visit to Cincinnati he and Coach Tuberville decided he should be a Bearcat. Being new to the city and the campus, one of his teammates took him on a trip across campus that included a visit to meet UC president ,Santa Ono.
So often athletes visit hospitals or meet with sick children and the story stops there, its a one time encounter. That wasn’t the case for Munchie Legaux and Jordan Luallen, they got to see the next chapter…..and it’s the beginning of they hope will be a long story. Last October a nine year old boy showed them true courage and strength, then he did it again last week.
Fifteen years ago four guys thought it would be fun to celebrate the beginning of football season by playing golf the same day the Bearcats played their opener. It was such a good idea others wanted to join the party. Last Sunday morning 124 golfers got together to celebrate the beginning of the 2013 campaign, all be it a few months early…..but the spirit of football was certainly in the air. Coach Tuberville and a few assistants joined in, and at the end of the day the program got a check for $6,500.
Thursday morning while the defensive unit was in the weight room, some of the guys on the other side of the ball took some time before their workout to visit a local grade school. It was an opportunity to get out into the community and give back. One of the newest Bearcats, Gunner Kiel was eager to get out and get involved with his his new home.
For the upperclassmen, this has been a very strange spring. UC has always been the last area college to wrap up the scholastic school year. Graduation was always the second week of June, not this year. School was out in mid April and the football team has been adjusting to their new summer schedule. A couple of weeks ago they were just getting back to school and working out when a member of the football family needed some help, early on a Saturday morning. Needless to say….they were there.
Monday afternoon the Bearcats began their summer strength and conditioning program. The the season starts in 110 days on August 31 against Purdue at Nippert Stadium.
Before the Bearcats played UCONN in the final game last year a common motivator in the locker room was, “let’s take care of business and get another ring”. A trophy for the athletic department and an invitation to a bowl game are part of winning a conference title but it’s the championship ring that the players look forward to. Thursday afternoon the rings from last years season arrived and it didn’t take long for word to spread. Players flocked to the football office to get their rings, and they loved what they saw.
This week the Bearcats ended spring practice. In obvious ways it was different from years past, but in may ways it’s very familiar. The team is defending a conference championship and to get another championship ring it will need to be a complete team effort.
When Coach Tuberville took the head coaching job at UC back in December it wasn’t his first visit to the Tri-State area, his wife was born and raised in nearby Guilford, Indiana. So when the Dearborn County Chamber of Commerce invited the Bearcats head coach to be a guest speaker at their monthly meeting it was more like a get together with old friends.
This year the Bearcats didn’t have a “spring game”. Instead the coaching staff let the players scrimmage four different times during the spring practice season. This gave the coaches an opportunity to evaluate the team at game speed and it gave the players the opportunity to do what they love…..play football.