Sprints // 04.21.09

Draft Days. C&F can say one thing with absolute confidence: Robert Ayers will be selected in the NFL Draft. Now, where he will be selected in the NFL Draft is a different question.

Many of the so-called experts, who seem to be distinguished by their rapid-fire talking and inability to find a decent barber, have Ayers going in the first round, perhaps even in the top half of the first round.

But hooper at Rocky Top Talk isn't so sure, especially because the most logical choice in the first 15 spots (Buffalo) might not be enthusiastic about selecting Ayers.

As much as I like this pick for Buffalo and for Ayers, I just have a hard time believing Buffalo would be willing to "reach" at #11.

If Buffalo manages to trade down in the draft, I would expect the Ayers speculation to soar.  It just seems to me that the team with the most to gain by drafting Ayers is in a position where they might be afraid to pull the trigger on him.

Another thing I have never understood about the NFL Draft: The "reach." If that's the guy you want, go out and get him. Don't worry about whether that's the right "value" for him. If he's number one on your board, what you need most, take him. Then again, anyone who follows Sprints can tell you that there are many, many things about the NFL Draft that confound me.

Meanwhile, agent Drew Rosenhaus seems to be preparing a Cornelius Ingram bust for Canton.

"C.I. has no lingering injury questions. He has worked out for numerous teams. I fully expect him to a first-day pick. He has captivated the teams with his natural receiving skills. He will be a Pro Bowl tight end."

Keep in mind that this is his agent -- and a very good agent, the same one who manages to keep pawning off T.O. to every NFL team dumb enough to take him. With what Ingram has been through, I feel sure he would (and probably should) just be happy at this point to get drafted before the sixth round. Not saying he  doesn't deserves better -- he probably does -- but that's the way things go in the NFL.

And Ingram isn't the only Gator not rumored to have indulged illicit habits who could get selected for his receiving abilities: Louis Murphy could go high, though not in the same manner as some of his teammates allegedly have.

Now seems like as good a time as any for a plug: Don't miss the Team Speed Kills NFL Draft Thread this Saturday. The thread will post at noon, and things will gear up just ahead of the 4 p.m. start. Whether your humble correspondent is on hand for more than a few moments at a time depends on the ability of Florida's Legislature to come up with a budget. Right now, they're still trying to agree on how large the budget should be.

It's not you. It's you and a lot of other people. Nick Saban wants to get it clear, aight?

"I want our fans to understand that when they don't have positive passion and energy for what we're trying to accomplish, then it affects everyone," Saban said. "Last year's team was a great example of that." ...

Just to be clear, Saban said he's not blaming the fans. He's blaming everyone. When he said "across the board," he meant himself, too. He clarified that "the fans have been great," but said there should be "an appreciation for what is accomplished."

Ah, so it's not all the fans' fault. Just some of it.

But Saban is also taking flak from Utah fans, who see this (justifiably) as excuse-making of the worse kind.

But instead of just admitting that maybe his team lost to a really good Utah squad, he actually undermines his own coaching ability by implying he failed to motivate his team prior to a huge game. Isn't that why Alabama pays him more money than any coach in college football?

Saban might want to talk to his soon-to-be starting quarterback, who is similarly unimpressed by the Tide recently.

Meanwhile, Lance Thompson knows you hate him, Alabama fans.

It should still be Ryan Mallett. But, maybe ... The Slophouse examines an interesting breakdown of the Arkansas quarterbacks' numbers in spring practice. Probably not enough to change the mind of they Gypsy Coach of the South, but enough to give him pause.

Auburn's race is even murkier, says Track Em Tigers.

Two things you don't want to see together in a headline: Head coach's name and 'pleads guilty.' That's what greets Ole Miss' basketball program this morning, though. Basketball coach Anthony Kennedy cops a plea for disorderly conduct concerning an altercation with a taxi driver in Cincinnati.

Red Cup Rebellion sees the punishment for Anthony Kennedy as a slap on the wrists, though they seem to find the punishment the correct one. Kennedy sees it as a "'season' of adversity." The Ole Miss AD not only backs Kennedy, but says he "kind of relish[es] those conversations we've had" about the matter. Odd sense of fun, that one. Jay Bilas sees no recruiting fallout. A civil case by Kennedy claiming he was defamed goes on.

Two more things you don't want to see together in a headline: Team name and 'audit.' But the University of Tennessee overstated athletics donations by a tiny amount. A pittance, really. A mere $6.4 million. You could hardly pay two of the Vols' deputy assistant football coaches on that kind of money.

But where will he put the chapters on Oregon State? Pete Carroll will put pen to paper and author -- or, more likely, have someone else author -- "Win Forever." The tome will include advice on making your organization "consistently outperform expectations."

The guy that was expected to win or compete for three of the last four national titles and ended up winning it not once in that period and missing the NC two of those three years is going to teach us how to consistently outperforming expectations?

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