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Published: Monday, 3/26/2012

Tebow in Big Apple will be fun

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

Idle thoughts from an idle mind, with an admission that we figured Ohio State’s tournament chances all wrong:

Love the New York Jets’ trade for Tim Tebow. Don’t understand it, but love it.

Pro football’s most entertaining circus, with Rex Ryan as the ringmaster, has tacked on a juicy quarterback controversy.

The Jets gave their starter, Mark Sanchez, a lucrative contract extension, pledging their undying love, and then slapped his ego silly by acquiring the most popular, and polarizing, player in the game.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum said Sanchez “is, has been, and will be our starting quarterback.”

Until he throws his first pick-six and the Jets are 1-3.

Tebow isn’t in the Big Apple to be a backup. The trade appealed to him because the Jets’ job is winnable, even by a guy who can’t throw deep and who doesn’t complete half of his passes.

And don’t buy the chatter about Tebow being perfect to run the wildcat offense. Defenses have already figured that gimmick out and rendered it all but toothless. That’s not why they got him.

Why did they? Good question. It’s just insanity.

The city and the Knicks had a brief bout of Linsanity, now the Jets are bringing New York some Timsanity. Whether it’s a brief fling or a long-term affair remains to be seen. But it should be a blast to follow.

  • Coaching can be a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t profession, and the job is certainly easier with hindsight.

After Syracuse’s Rachel Coffey buried a desperate 3-pointer in the final seconds to send Saturday’s WNIT game against Toledo into overtime, where the Orange posted a 74-73 victory, the obvious second-guess was to ask why UT didn’t foul long before the shot with a three-point lead.

It’s a legitimate question, and Rocket coach Tricia Cullop gave legitimate answers afterwards. She was most concerned, she said, about giving up a put-back basket after a missed free throw.

One school of thought adhered to by some coaches is that you don’t stop the clock and give the opponent a chance to put any points on the board when both the clock and the scoreboard are in your favor and a tie is the worst possible scenario.

Like I said, the job is easier with hindsight.

It’s also easier if your team isn’t 24-of-41 at the free throw line.

  • But Cullop and the UT women surely merit kudos for a 24-10 season and another trip deep into the postseason. Who would have imagined such success 31 games ago when star Naama Shafir went down with a season-ending knee injury?
  • Cullop’s many supporters at UT are keeping their eyes on coaching searches at Illinois and Indiana.
  • Young lefty Drew Smyly has earned the Tigers’ attention during spring training – he has a 1.13 ERA in eight innings of work – and he’ll get a start Tuesday against Houston.

But the 22-year-old University of Arkansas product has less than a full season of pro ball under his belt, and it would make far more sense for him to start the season with the Mud Hens.

With opening day at Comerica Park just 10 days away, though, Smyly is still in the mix for Detroit’s No. 5 starter slot, along with fellow southpaws Andy Oliver, Duane Below, and Adam Wilk, and right-hander Jacob Turner (who has been slowed by injury).

  • Felt bad watching Whitmer’s Bruce Smith, well into his third decade as a high school coach, standing quietly by himself at one end of the Value City Arena court watching former Ohio State standout Jerry Francis celebrate the Division I state title Saturday night in just his second season as coach at Pickerington Central.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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