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Sprints Endorses Admiral Ackbar for Ole Miss Mascot // 02.23.10

Play Ball!
Three teams play games today: Ole Miss hosts Arkansas State at 4 p.m. ET; Vanderbilt plays Austin Peay in Nashville at 5 p.m. ET and Mississippi State has a home game against UAB at the same time.

Meanwhile, new rankings are out now: LSU moves up to No. 2 in Baseball America and No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball. Other schools: No. 5 / No. 9 Florida (preseason: No. 7 / No. 9); No. 10 / 23 South Carolina (10/ 28); No. 17 / 30 Arkansas (17 / 23); No. 24 / 28 Ole Miss (24 / 22). Georgia, the preseason No. 22 in Baseball America, dropped out of the poll after a 2-2 weekend.

The school without a mascot votes on whether to have one
Students are expected to vote in a referendum today about whether to replace Colonel Reb, who is still gone no matter what happens in the election.

Richard McKay, vice president of the Associated Student Body, said he had received some hate e-mail about the vote.

"We've gotten a lot of input whether it was asked for or not," said McKay, who is white. "A lot of students are afraid that as soon as we have a new mascot, everyone will forget about Colonel Reb."

Well, that's to be expected after removing a mascot that has been walking the sidelines for decades and decades --

The colonel made the official transition to the field in 1979.

So let's throw out the canard right now that this is some new attack on a long-standing tradition at university events. As far as an official mascot, this one was relatively new and, while I'm not going to make any judgments about the people who made the decision to put it on the field, the idea that Col. Reb was put in place at an easier time when people just didn't think about things like that isn't true.

I really don't want to get into a wider argument about the Civil War, because I suspect I disagree with a lot of folks that read this blog. But let's at least be honest about the obvious things. Besides, there are some great replacement candidates out there.

'Tebow 2.0': Seek and destroy (Mel Kiper)
College football's most applauded quarterback is trying to make himself acceptable to the NFL coaches with something he's never tried before: He's changing his throwing motion. No, for real this time. Honestly.

In an effort to quiet his critics and refine his game, Tebow is changing the way he holds a football, shifting it from his waist to his shoulder. He is concentrating on taking three- and five-step drops instead of working out of the shotgun formation he used at Florida. ...

"I'm not changing who I am or how I approach football," Tebow said Sunday night from Nashville, Tenn., where he has been busy remaking the style that was good enough to win one Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida.

"But there are things that I can get a lot better at -- my fundamentals. I've never been asked to shorten or quicken my release and not have a loop in it. The changes I'm making have gone very well and it's becoming more and more natural to me."

Those involved in the effort say they're pleased with the progress he's made -- as if they would be quoted on ESPN saying that it's a bust and he would be better off becoming a goodwill ambassador for Focus on the Family.

"You're not looking at the same quarterback," said Bratkowski, who has worked with quarterbacks such as San Diego's Philip Rivers, Philadelphia's Michael Vick and Boomer Esiason. "To say we're there 100 percent where we want to be, no. But we'll be more improved come pro day than we are at this point in time now."

This is to your humble correspondent one of the most interesting pre-Draft story lines. Can Tebow change in a few weeks the motion that made him one of the most successful college football players in history?

The question for the NFL: Even if he can, why should he?

Still, some of the basics seem to be a ways off
Like, you know, throwing routes instead of just chucking the ball.

"He just goes full-out all the time," Hester said over the weekend. "His mentality is, ‘I’m going to throw it 80 yards,’ and I’m like, ‘No, we’re going to throw it 5.’ That’s maybe his only negative, that you have to rein him in a little bit."

And make him follow the play.

By the way, it's really not fair to use JaMarcus Russell or any other Al Davis selection to prove a point about the NFL Draft. A little-known fact is that the top spot on the Raiders draft board this year is held by a Giant Armadillo will a sub-4.4 40-yard dash.

S! E! C! S! E! C!
Attendance is down, but one thing remains the same.

Average attendance at Football Bowl Subdivision games was 46,281. ...

The Southeastern Conference led all leagues in attendance, at 76,288 a game.

Of course. And who led in attendance growth rate? Mississippi State. Because after Sylvester Croom leaves, any program has hope.

Because it's never too early -- actually, that's not true. This is way too early
Alabama already has 7-2 odds to win the BCS national title in 2010, the best in the country. Arkansas is, for reasons passing understanding as long as they continue to see "defense" as a medieval superstition, given 30-1 odds.

No word yet on Abram
We're still waiting to find out what caused Bennie Abram's death at an Ole Miss training session last week.

Andrew Harris leaves Ole Miss
Not huge, but worth noting.

John Calipari: Humanitarian
Usually I say that about the Kentucky head coach in jest. Not this time.