Bullpup gridders on display Saturday

By Steve Sell
August 18, 2016

Thursday’s thoughts...

• SCRIMMAGE SATURDAY — McPherson High’s football team will wrap up the first week of preseason drills by scrimmaging Saturday morning at 8:00 at McPherson Stadium.

Chatting with MHS coach Jace Pavlovich at practice earlier this week, the rule that allows summer camps has proven to be a boon for the Bullpups. No longer is time spent trying to teach players the offensive and defensive schemes during the first week, they were put in over the summer. It’s now more about repetition and timing.

The Bullpups are going to have to be sharp from the get-go. Arguably their two toughest games of the regular season open the campaign, both at home. Buhler comes to town on Sept. 2, with Maize South here on Sept. 9, the first-ever football meeting between the teams. Both went deep into the playoffs last year.

• ROYALS ROLLING — Finally, back to .500.

Now the Royals have to build on it.

An unexpected road sweep in Detroit has Kansas City fans believing the magic is back.

I don’t think anybody saw this coming. Kansas City has been dreadful on the road and it had been eight years since it had swept Detroit in the Motor City.

The Tigers, though, are going through what the Royals did in July. Their bats have gone silent, but give credit to the Royals’ solid starting pitching. Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura were in shut-down mode and the bullpen was airtight.

Hopefully the Royals won’t have a letdown. The woebegone Twins come into The K for a crucial four-game set beginning tonight. If KC is to really be considered as a playoff contender, it needs to win at least three of the four.

Getting past tonight is the key. Dillon Gee, who has been better in recent games with nothing to show for it, hopes to keep the game close before turning it over to the bullpen. If the Royals don’t make the playoffs, they’ll look back after the season about how the No. 5 spot in the rotation was a killer.

• NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE — The Kansas City Chiefs have more quality depth at running back than any team in the NFL.

When Jamaal Charles went down early last year with a season-ending knee injury, the silver lining was that it allowed coach Andy Reid to develop some depth.

Competition is fierce for the running back spots. Of course Charles is secure because he has shouldered the load of the offense for nearly 10 years. While he’s still trying to get back to 100 percent, he still has a ways to go.

But the Chiefs didn’t see much of a falloff last year when Charcandrick West was inserted into the lineup. And Spencer Ware emerged as a bruising power back who runs north and south and gets those tough yards.

And don’t forget Knile Davis. While he seems to have a hard time earning the trust of the Kansas City coaching staff, he’s still a talent. He’s probably the odd-man out, but I’ll guarantee if the Chiefs cut him, he’ll be picked up before the day is over.

Kansas City’s successful running game allows Alex Smith to manage the offense with the short passing game. With an improved offensive line and the upgrades at wide receiver, the Chiefs should be able to put big points on the board this season.

• BOLT THE BEST — Usain Bolt spends very little time on the track.

In the 100 meters, it’s less than 10 seconds. In the 200 meters, it’s less than 20 seconds. And he’ll also be competing in the 4 x 100 relay, which he’ll need another 10 seconds to complete his task.

So basically Bolt is on and off the track in the blink of an eye. Yet, he’s perhaps the most exciting performer of these highly successful Olympic Games.

I call him “Insane Bolt.” That’s because the times he runs are insane. No human, especially one who is 6-5, should be able to run that fast. And his last name, Bolt, is apropos because he really is like a bolt of lightning.

Whereas the other runners go as hard as they can in the prelims, Bolt runs hard for as long as he needs to and then shuts it down. Hopefully in the 200 meter finals tonight he’ll go all out, because I want to see just how low he can go.

Michael Phelps and Katie Ladecky will win more medals than Bolt. But for pure excitement, no performer in these Games has been more captivating.