A glaring hole atop Jeff Quinn's depth chart has finally been filled. After a summer of two-a-days and team meetings, Buffalo's head football coach announced that sophomore Jerry Davis will quarterback the Bulls' offense this season. "Right now, based upon all the time I've had to evaluate Jerry against the other quarterbacks, he really seems to be the most stable guy for us," Quinn said.
Lay down the red carpet and hold the doors open for me. Bow down to the ground I walk upon and treat me like a king because today is my day. Today is my birthday. Clear you schedules and meet me at the bar. Line up the food platters, buy me drinks and feed me cake. I expect to be treated like President Simpson and be loved like Dennis Black. While most 22 year olds automatically tune into this egotistical mindset when the clock strikes midnight on their birthday, I have a different frame of mind. To be honest, I could care less that it's my birthday. Today symbolizes nothing more than that I've successfully made it through the last 365 days, thus leaving me with one less year to live. The only thing that makes today special for me is that I share it with my dad – who ironically was born on the same day 30 years prior to my existence. Happy Birthday, Dad. Birthdays give your most despised enemies a reason to wish you an insincere wish. They give old friends a reason to say hello and strangers a reason to post on your Facebook wall. They give ex-girlfriends a reason to remember why she hates you so much and new girlfriends a reason to shower you in gifts and get you in bed. Damn, it's too bad I'm single. So what does a birthday really mean? From the hospital to the cemetery, I introduce to you the true meaning of the birthday. The Past Day of birth: Congratulations, you've made it to life's starting line. It's the happiest day in your family's life as you exit your mother's womb and receive your very own birth certificate. For the next few months, your annoyance of crying, puking and pooping will make mom and dad regret that fateful day they failed to use protection. Age 1: You made it through your first 12 months and are no longer considered an infant. You're on your way to taking your first steps and speaking a few small words, but you continue to puke and poop freely. The best part of it all is that you have absolutely no recollection of your first few years on Earth. Age 4: Say goodbye to life inside the confines of your home because it's time to go to school. Shove your face full of cake and have fun with your latest toy, but at the end of the day, kindergarten is calling your name. Get use to the feeling of imprisonment because for the next 12-plus years, the classroom is your holding cell. Enjoy. Ages 5-12: For the next eight years you don't have a worry in the world. Make some friends and learn life's basics. Be a kid. It's that easy. Age 13: Here we go, let the rebellion begin – you're a teenager. Time to ignore the rules, disobey your parents and cause some ruckus. Let the hormones run wild because you're about to discover the opposite sex. Pitch your first tent and if you just so happen to wake up in the middle of the night to a wet, sticky mess – don't fret. It's natural. Age 16: You've made it to the life's first true milestone. Make your way to the DMV, get your permit and be rewarded with a license shortly thereafter. It's time to take control of the wheel and hit the open road. It's not all fun and games, however. Grab a dictionary and look up the meaning of "responsibility." For the first time in your life, it's time you take it into your own hands. Age 17: Hit the snooze button. There's not much to be excited for. Age 18: You're a legal American and it's time to experience the beginnings of adulthood. Remember when you turned 13 and immature was your middle name? Not anymore. It's time to grow up. Age 19: Oh Canada, your new best friend. For those living along the border of our friends to the north, it's time to cross the border and get crazy. Order your first legal beer and take a stroll into your first strip club. For those without access to Canada, hit snooze. The Present
The Bills and I have a lot in common. As I prepare to turn 22 years old at the end of the month, it's time to start planning my future. I've called Buffalo my home for two decades and it's time for a fresh start – a change of scenery. Much like myself, the Bills are in need of a fresh start. As the old saying goes, it's out with the old and in with the new at One Bills Drive in Orchard Park. It's time to start planning for the future at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Management has already made moves by naming Buddy Nix its first general manager in three years and lured in the relatively unknown Chan Gailey to succeed the malnourished Dick Jauron. Ok, good. It's a foundation to build upon. But we've been through this before. Since Marv Levy retired from the sidelines in 1997 and John Butler left for San Diego in 2000, the franchise has cycled through five head coaches and three general managers. During that time period, the Bills have qualified for the postseason just once. They haven't won an AFC East divisional crown since 1995 and have beaten the New England Patriots only once since 2001. No matter who is calling the shots in the front office or on the sideline, you can't win football games without the right personnel on the field. Buffalo has failed to recognize that. Enough is enough. Buffalo is in need of a savior – someone to put the Bills back on the map and restore football tradition in the Queen City. Clouds have loomed over the Ralph far too long and it's time for the sun to shine down over 80,000-plus crowds on Sunday afternoons again. Buffalo is in need of Jimmy Clausen. The team has lacked the presence of a franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly was under center. Todd Collins, Rob Johnson, Doug Flutie, Alex Van Pelt – (deep breath) – Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm have all had their shot to become the next Kelly in Western New York. All have failed. When I look at Jimmy Clausen, I see a young man with the attitude off the field and ability on the field to turn the franchise around. At just 22 years old, the former Notre Dame quarterback has lived in the spotlight as a highly recruited quarterback since his high school days. In his junior year, he was dubbed by Sports Illustrated as "The Kid with the Golden Arm." After his senior year he was awarded the Hall Trophy award as the U.S. Army National Player of the Year and was named by USA Today as the Offensive Player of the Year. Clausen had an up and down three-year career as the face of Notre Dame football in South Bend, but has come out as NFL-ready as any other quarterback in the upcoming draft. Working under former Fighting Irish head coach Charlie Weis, Clausen has played out of a pro-style offense his entire career. He has experience working from under center and out of the shotgun – something rare nowadays with college quarterbacks. He is a highly competitive and outspoken signal caller that has a keen sense of commanding the huddle and line of scrimmage. For a young player, Clausen knows how to effectively read defensive coverages, make adjustments at the line when he sees fit and manages the offense with precision. The 6-foot 3-inch, 222-pounder is an athletic specimen. He possesses a live arm with a quick release, and displays impressive accuracy in the short passing game. He has the ability to escape the pocket and can make plays on the ground with his feet. What I love most about Clausen, however, is his swagger. He has been in the eye of the media his entire career and has carried himself with his head held high. Like a young Philip Rivers, he has that love me/hate me kind of persona about him and I think it's exactly what Buffalo needs in its locker room. Many are concerned that Clausen doesn't have elite arm strength and a nagging toe raises questions about his durability and drop-back technique. But if St. Louis is willing to spend the top overall pick on a quarterback with a surgically repaired shoulder, I think Clausen's toe is the least of our worries. The Edwards, Fitzpatrick and Brohm experiments have expired. Times are changing in Buffalo and it's time for a fresh face to take over the team. Clausen has the skill set, confidence and arrogance to become the leader of the franchise for years to come. To Mr. Nix and Mr. Gailey: I know you need offensive linemen, but the franchise needs an identity. Do Bills fans and me a favor and draft Jimmy Clausen with the ninth overall pick. You've given us nothing so far this offseason to look forward to regarding the Bills' future. Make Clausen your quarterback and give me a reason to be excited for Buffalo football once again. I've given up my season tickets already. Do me a favor and make me regret my decision on April 22. E-mail: email@example.com
Jack Kemp, Joe Ferguson, Jim Kelly and Drew Bledsoe – all great quarterbacks in Buffalo Bills history. You could be next. New head coach Chan Gailey announced late Tuesday afternoon that the Bills will hold open quarterback tryouts to the public over a two-week period leading up to the NFL Draft. "This is a unique opportunity to add some raw talent to our depth chart for training camp," Gailey said during a press conference at One Bills Drive. "Mr. Wilson, Buddy [Nix] and myself debated back and forth over the idea of an open tryout. But ultimately, we decided it would be in the best interest of the franchise to open our doors to some quarterbacks out there who haven't been given a shot under center in the NFL." The Bills have had a glaring hole at the quarterback position since Bledsoe left via free agency after the 2004 season. Since then, the franchise has experimented with five different signal callers: Kelly Holcomb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm and former first round pick J.P. Losman. During that time, Buffalo has gone 32-48 and has failed to qualify for the postseason for 10-straight seasons. Last season, both Edwards and Fitzpatrick struggled to take the reins under center while Brohm fluttered in his only outing of the year. "It's no surprise that this team is in need of a franchise quarterback," said first-year general manager Buddy Nix. "A team will go as far as your quarterback takes it. Look at the greats of today's game, like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre. What do they all have in common? Playoffs and championships. That's where we want to be." Beginning April 3 at 8 a.m., Gailey will open the field house doors to anyone interested in landing a professional football contract. The nationwide quarterback search is open to anyone ages 18-28. While no previous football experience is necessary, Gailey did admit that those without experience could struggle to adapt to an NFL tryout. This isn't the first time an NFL team has held open tryouts. First-year head coach Dick Vermeil held an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. With the no first-round draft pick, Vermeil opted to find players who may not have been talented, but knew the meaning of work ethic and sacrifice. The Eagles were rewarded with wide receiver and special teams ace Vince Papale. The 30-year-old played two seasons with the team in which he was voted Special Teams Captain by his teammates and earned "Man of the Year" for his charitable contributions. "I've had extensive talks with Dick about this process. He's been through it before and knows how successful it can be," Gailey said. "Knowing that Dick found a leader in Vince gives me some encouragement that we can do the same. There's somebody out there for us and it's just the matter of finding him." With the NFL Draft just three weeks away, many around the league are questioning the peculiar move by Bills management to hold an open quarterback tryout. With the 9th overall pick, Buffalo is in line to potentially land former Notre Dame star Jimmy Clausen in the first round. Should Clausen be off the board, other potential prospects will be available for the taking in the second round, including Colt McCoy, Dan LeFevour and Tim Tebow. The Bills have already been linked to Clausen and Tebow as draft day approaches. Buffalo held a private workout with Clausen while Hall of Famer Jim Kelly recently treated Tebow to a steak dinner at the Buffalo Chophouse. As Kelly praised the young quarterback, he stated that an open tryout could do nothing but hurt the organization. "Tim [Tebow] is a proven leader and a natural born winner. He has everything you'd want in a franchise quarterback," Kelly told The Spectrum. "There's no reason Buffalo should pass on him. The fact that Coach Gailey has decided to hold an open tryout leads me to believe they aren't looking to add a quarterback in the draft. It's an embarrassment, if you ask me." Opening tryout days will include rigorous strength and conditioning drills. Following first cuts on day three, contenders will hit the field for a technique and mechanics test in throwing and pocket presence. The field will be narrowed down to ten finalists on day eight, who will then be required to learn a standard NFL playbook and be thrown into live 7-on-7 action in full pads with the rest of the team. By the end of week two, Buffalo's coaching staff and management will offer a two-year entry-level contract to the most impressive quarterback. "By the end of this thing, we're going to have our man," Nix said. "Whether he is a former high school star, college dropout, CFL bust or Thanksgiving Day legend, we'll be heading into the season confident in our quarterbacks." With just 400 available spots, stadium organizers recommend arriving at the field house four days prior to the tryout to ensure your opportunity. "This is an exciting time in Buffalo Bills football," Gailey said. "I feel we've made significant strides since Buddy [Nix] and I have come on board. We've addressed holes on the defensive unit and offensive line and we are confident we'll have our quarterback of the future in the coming weeks. This is going to be fun, I'll tell you that." E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I had nightmares all weekend. I woke up sweating in the middle of the night screaming, "Leave me alone!" before I snapped out of it and realized it was just a dream. Except it wasn't. All last week I battled my way through the frenzy of Student Association elections in the Student Union. Between the Student Alliance and the ONE Party, if I had one more campaigner shove a flyer in my face urging me to vote, I would've taken regrettable actions. I don't have a problem casting my vote. After all, it is part of my student obligation to let my voice be heard. I do, however, have a problem with both parties' campaign slogans stating that they're "for the student population." Really? Because I beg to differ. After months of speculation, SA proudly announced that Three Days Grace will headline Spring Fest 2010 with opening acts N.E.R.D. and Lady Danville, in addition to two unnamed acts. Are. You. Kidding. Me? That's the best you could do? A '90s alternative rock band that took nearly 11 years to hit it big with a platinum album that only reached 69 on the US charts? They've had their fair share of gold hits with "I Hate Everything About You," "Animal I Have Become," "Pain" and "Never Too Late," but is it really enough to sign the band on to headline our spring concert series? Hardly. Spring Fest has always been a highly anticipated event on campus. It's the end of the year celebration – one last hoorah on campus before exams and senior commencement. You could even say it's a reward for students who've spent endless hours spent at Capen stressing over finals. Sorry to say, but this year students may end up opting to spend their Saturday night at Capen instead of Alumni Arena. This isn't the first time in the past four years that SA has dropped a goose egg on Spring Fest. Last year, the annual April concert featured punk rockers Rise Against, and The Roots headlined in 2007 – not too memorable. SA did reel in Akon and T-Pain in 2008 for a night to remember. T-Pain wasn't on stage long enough to make a lasting impression, but his over the top mascot opened eyes. Akon started off a bit rocky before his oddball DJ fell off the turntable, nearly breaking his neck and every piece of equipment on stage. The night was a success in my book. If you claim to be the voice of the students, then give the students the chance to be heard. There's no reason why we shouldn't have a say in who we want to headline our concert. Survey the student population on an ideal music genre or compile a list of possible headlining candidates. Take those results and hire an act that you know the students will be excited for. If that idea doesn't satisfy your minds, then do us all a favor and broaden your horizons. My patience has run out on the customary rotation of hip-hop to punk rock bands between the fall and spring concerts. I'm sick of having to watch rap and hip-hop artists run around stage while waving a towel in the air as they hold a firm grasp on their man-meat. I'm sick of hearing poor acoustics make a national rock band sound like underground rockers performing in Billy's basement for a kegger party. Didn't Lupe Fiasco's performance make you want to find a new playlist after he told UB students they suck? Here's an idea: play something country. Country music has taken the music business by storm in recent years. Its popularity is expanding vastly with country rockers Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. If electric guitarists aren't your style, try Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood. How about mega-groups including Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum and The Zac Brown Band? Smaller acts from Darius Rucker to Jason Aldean and Gloriana can pack just as big a punch as the mainstream stars. Do you honestly believe outsiders will spend $35 on a ticket for this year's lineup? Country acts sell out venues around Buffalo and Western New York year-round (including UB's own country acoustics show at The Center for the Arts). A country act is going to draw a bigger crowd outside UB students, and we all know what that means – revenue. I'm not suggesting to specifically target a country music act. But I am suggesting that you give us something fresh and new to look to forward to. Stop choosing one of the recently played artists off your iPod to headline Spring Fest and give UB students a voice. Maybe then your crowd will exceed the attendance of a high school musical. E-mail: email@example.com
Buffalo is a sports town. In between the chicken wing grease and slices of beef on weck, Buffalonians live for the pigskin and die for the puck. Nowhere else can you find a sold out stadium of 80,000-plus in the dead of winter cheer on a perennial last place team. But who knew that our city has become a production factory for up and coming professional athletes? Buffalo has already spit out NHLers including Patrick Kane, Pat Kaleta, Tim Kennedy, Brooks Orpik and Todd Marchant. NBA Rookie of the Year candidate, Jonny Flynn, joined the list of NBA stars including Christian Laettner, Greg Oden and Bob Lanier that once called Buffalo home. With this year's NFL Draft looming, the time has come for Buffalo to add more aspiring stars to the list. The 2010 draft class will feature six athletes born and raised in Buffalo, and every guy in the group is likely to get a phone call from the National Football League come April 22. Headlining the group is UB's own James Starks. Despite missing his senior season, the Niagara Falls native left UB as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,140 yards and 34 touchdowns in three seasons. Starks is currently projected to go off the board anywhere between the third and sixth rounds. The 6-foot 2-inch running back is on NFL teams' radars after boasting a time of 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 9-foot 11-inch broad jump and 36-inch vertical jump. Since joining Buffalo, he has evolved into a unique mold for a professional running back and I love what he brings to the table. St. Josephs graduate Naaman Roosevelt is another Bull looking to make his mark. At 6-feet tall, UB's all-time leading receiver is projected to find a new home in the later rounds of the draft. The agile receiver possesses soft hands, sharp route running, quickness and the intelligence needed to become an ideal slot receiver. Roosevelt lacks ideal size and struggles in blocking. Injuries have also hurt him in the past, but his versatility as a kick returner will help him draw interest. If he can stay healthy, the Buffalo native could add good depth to a receiving corp. as a rookie. Former Syracuse Orange wide receiver Mike Williams joins Starks and Roosevelt with hopes of making an impact on offense come 2010. The Riverside High finished with 60 receptions for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns his sophomore season at Cuse. Williams has the frame and the tools to grow into a starting NFL wideout, but has already drawn comparisons to Pacman Jones and Charles Rogers. He was suspended by the Orange for the 2008 season for academic reasons and quit the team halfway through last season. Despite these problems, one team will take a chance on Williams. Tight end Rob Gronkowski of Williamsville and St. Francis graduate Doug Worthington will both be heading to NFL training camps as well. Gronkowski is one of the top tight ends in the draft and could become a valuable starter if he can stay healthy. Worthington figures to be a late round pick, but the 6-foot 5-inch defensive lineman has the versatility to add good depth to a defensive line. Rounding out the Buffalo boys is James Mallory. Wait, who? From Central Connecticut State, Mallory runs with a chip on his shoulder despite his 5-foot 10-inch stature. The two-year starter with the Blue Devils caught scouts' eyes after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons that combined for 31 touchdowns. The Kenmore native is a burner with the ball in his hands. He has the vision to find the hole, quickness and power to hit it and breakaway speed to get into the open field. What stands out, however, is his special teams play. Mallory blocked three punts as a senior and excelled in punt and kickoff coverage. There's no single player I'm pulling for more to get a phone call in April. Having shared the hallways of Kenmore West High School, I watched Mallory grow into the player he is today. He has the heart of a lion and the attitude every coach would love to have on his roster. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be dawning the red, white and blue next season at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Goodluck, gentleman. Here's to one day hoping each of you will bring the Lombardi trophy back to Buffalo – no matter what team you play for. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time froze for 15 minutes on Friday. For a quarter of an hour, the world was locked in on Tiger Woods's first public appearance in nearly four months. With a prepared speech in hand, Woods came out of hiatus and addressed the country in the first of many stages to clear his name of his wrongdoings.