Today’s press luncheon was packed with local media. Obviously the expectations for this season are through the roof. And Nippert has been #remixed, #renovated, and #refurbished!
But before I talk football, I’ve got to be honest – I’m taken by how normal Gunner seems. He has been a star quarterback much of his life; he’s stood out from the crowd growing up in Southern Indiana; he was the number one pro-style QB recruit in the Jameis Winston class; and his name is Gunner. Gunner. Yet he appears to be down to earth, even boyish and charming.
Transitioning to football-speak: Gunner emphasized “accountability” and “buy-in” from the team, and said that this year could/should be special. He also said that he’s far more prepared this season than he was last year. Recall that last season was his first season on the field in over two years – so he really was younger than his age (and reputation) may have let on.
In a press conference Coach Tuberville jokingly labelled “Truthful Tuesday,” Tuberville spoke candidly about Gunner’s performance last season, saying that his play should have been graded at a C or C+. Tuberville remarked that Munchie Legeaux provided a crutch for Gunner to lean upon in too many games last year. Tuberville emphasized that Gunner must improve and finish games this season.
Tuberville also noted that the defense is better, but that he continues to challenge them in team meetings and publicly in front of the media. He believes the athleticism and talent level of this defensive unit is superior to last season, despite the loss of Jeff Luc and others.
During Truthful Tuesday’s remarks, Tuberville also said that he thinks other large programs will now want to play in remodeled Nippert. He quipped that larger programs might be interested in traveling to Clifton if they aren’t too afraid to schedule the Bearcats. Translation: I doubt we’ll see Ohio State darkening the wrought iron doorways of Nippert anytime soon.
The Bearcats also revealed the first look at their uniforms for the opener against Alabama A&M. This Saturday, the Bearcats will wear black jerseys with white pants. Tuberville spent a good portion of his remarks describing the beneficial relationship with Under Armour. He advocated that, while the University’s relationship with UA is financially beneficial, it has also provided UC with a local recruiting advantage of late. You may recall that this isn’t Tuberville’s first dance with UA – his Texas Tech Red Raiders wore UA uniforms when UA was a smaller company.
Here’s the bottom line friends:
(1) Nippert was a jewel before the renovations – now it looks even better;
(2) Gunner Kiel is poised for a Tony Pike-like season (next fall Gunner could be a Heisman hopeful);
(3) The defense may even be okay;
(4) Tommy Tuberville might be one of the best salesman I’ve ever met;
(5) The University of Cincinnati is the #HottestCollegeInAmerica.
Go Bearcats! Go football! Go September!
By Brian Fox