Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to LenDale White…
- When Hermitage GC owner Mike Eller took a golf trip to Whistling Straits, he was impressed that the golf course had sheep roaming the Pete Dye designed layout in Kohler, Wisconsin.
While it is common for some links courses in Ireland and Scotland to have sheep on their golf courses, it is rare on this side of the pond.
“He came back and asked us what we thought about getting some sheep here at Hermitage,'' said head pro Jim Vernon of the course owner's proposal. “The more we talked about it, the more we thought it would work here.''
In other words they didn't think it was a bah-bah-d idea. It didn't take long for Eller to act.
Golfers will now be surprised to see sheep and one ram on both courses, since they meander between the General's Retreat and the President's Reserve courses.
They built a 12-acre pen for them stay in at night. They got a border collie to round them up and bring them home.
“It has really been popular,'' Eller said. “I can't tell you how many golfers have taken pictures with the sheep and they all come in talking about the sheep. We don't even need the dog now. They know where they are supposed to go and they do it on their own.''
The sheep also act as human weed-eaters. The may occasionally cross a fairway to get to the other side to graze, but they rarely interfere with play.
“I have gotten to know a lot of the Nike people out in Oregon and I called them the other night to tell them about a dream I had,'' Eller said. “I dreamed that (Northern Ireland's) Rory McIlroy was going to change sponsors and switch to Nike and that we could have the announcement here at Hermitage with Rory and the sheep behind him. It was a dream, but they liked the idea.''
- I first heard of college basketball teams holding private preseason scrimmages. It was a couple of years ago when word leaked out that Roy Williams brought his North Carolina team to Vanderbilt where they held lengthy scrimmages.
It was pretty hush-hush, as the NCAA rules prohibit any fans, media, students or family from watching the event. Even though they don't keep score, the word was that Vanderbilt's team was ahead when the final horn sounded.
In a City Paper story by Jerome Boettcher, he writes that the scrimmages have become more popular and some schools are ditching those insomnia curing preseason games against teams you didn't know existed.
Teams can replace up to two preseason games with these clandestine scrimmages. Coaches who favor the scrimmages claim the players and staffs get a lot more out of preparing for the season by scrimmaging quality opponents than they do putting knots on low-level college teams.
According to Boettcher, Belmont has scrimmaged University of Chattanooga and Wofford this preseason.
It all depends on what coaches want to get accomplished and what kind of team they have coming back. Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings chose to have preseason games, in order to get his most inexperienced team ever used to playing games that count.
- The knee injury suffered by South Carolina star running back Marcus Lattimore is said to be similar to the one that sidelined Willis McGahee in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. He would enter the 2003 NFL Draft.
McGahee worked tirelessly on rehabilitation for a torn ACL, PCL and MCL. Once a cinch top-five draft pick, he dropped to No. 23 in the draft. He sat out the 2003 season to rehab, and returned to churn out three straight 1,000-yard seasons. The Broncos running back is now in his ninth year in the NFL. It can be done and if anyone can do it, it would be Lattimore.
- Sign spotted in the ESPN Game Day mob on the LSU campus: “Free J.J.''
It was in reference to former LSU quarterback, Jordan Jefferson, who is behind bars after his recent scrape with the law when marijuana and four former LSU football players were found in “Honey Badger'' Tyrann Mathieu's apartment. That violated Jefferson's parole from an earlier arrest.
I'm not sure whether the owner of the sign was requesting on behalf of Jefferson as a humanitarian gesture, or (more likely) because of their dissatisfaction with current LSU QB Zach Mettenberger.
Mettenberger ranks No. 12 among SEC QBs in pass efficiency with only 7 TDs in the first 8 games. LSU as a team is 12th in the SEC in pass efficiency.
- I would love to see an Alabama-Oregon football game in the BCS Championship Game, especially if both teams are undefeated.
Going into this weekend's games, Oregon had scored more first half points than 93 other D-1 teams have scored all season.
- A 5-5 regular season series tie will be broken today when Da Bears invade LP Field in hopes of keeping the Titans down and out.
It's amazing the two teams have only played each other 10 times in NFL history.
If he gets some protection, Bears QB Jay Cutler could have a field day in his first homecoming game.
- Former Vanderbilt and NFL linebacker Jamie Winborn has been battling prostate cancer.
Winborn last played briefly for the Titans before retiring. He was scheduled to attend Vanderbilt's Homecoming game, but didn't make it.
Growing up in Wetumka, Ala., Winborn fought his way out of difficult circumstances with no father present and a mother who became addicted to drugs.
He is currently living and working in Atlanta.
- It's certainly not written in stone, but here are bowl projections courtesy of ESPN.com writers Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards.
Schlabach has Vanderbilt playing Virginia Tech in Nashville's Music City Bowl while Edwards has the Commodores going to Birmingham to play Ball State in the BBVA Compass Bowl. (Free tickets if you can tell me what BBVA Compass is without looking it up.)
Schlabach has Tennessee going to the BBVA Compass to play Pitt. Edwards has the Vols coming to the Music City Bowl to meet Miami.
That is all predicated on both teams being bowl eligible and Vanderbilt is only one win away with three games to play. The Vols have to win two of their last three games.
Got a sports news tip? Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.