To Report Or Not To Report?

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That is the question I pondered while watching the Owls practice this afternoon.

As I observed Nick Fanuzzi gingerly rotate his right arm above his head then back down to his waist while his teammates practiced late Thursday afternoon, I contemplated the tweet-worthy necessity of that unfortunate scene. David Bailiff and I have established a system of sharing information that isn't fit for publication, but he made no such designation regarding Fanuzzi. He listed Fanuzzi as day-to-day on Monday even though it was obvious to me that Fanuzzi would not play against Vanderbilt unless the Black Knight laid healing hands on him this week.

I bumped into Fanuzzi on Monday morning prior to his appearance at the weekly luncheon, and as he opened the door adjoining the Youngkin Center and Tudor Fieldhouse he reminded me of my dearly departed paternal grandfather getting out of his armchair. I knew then that he wouldn't be ready for the Commodores, but for some reason I bought into the notion I should keep the blatant seriousness of his injury veiled. Was that the proper decision at the time?

And I did the same thing today. With several fans thirsting for the latest news on Fanuzzi I felt compelled to sit on the information. I considered a post on the Parliament referring to keeping injury information secret because, in all honesty, numerous coaches practice that procedure besides the most genuine leader of young men we've all had the pleasure of knowing. If Bailiff wanted to close practice he could, and if he wanted to keep injuries close to the vest he has every right to do so. But since he doesn't I tell it like I see it although moments of conflict arise.

Writing all that to note that Fanuzzi won't play on Saturday. Tyler Smith (turf toe) and Jake Hicks (foot) are out, too, and that's a shame considering the Owls will finally enjoy their home opener after starting the season with three consecutive road games, and that in Vanderbilt they'll face a team with an awful offense (No. 88 nationally). With their full complement of weapons the Owls might have snapped their skid of 17 consecutive losses to schools from BCS conferences. Without them, the Commodores are more than capable of shutting down the reserves. Heck, their defense (No. 21) is stout enough to do so against the Owls' regulars.

Oh, and one more thing to feel sad about: The Rob will be packed on Saturday night. Why Commodores-Owls and Red Raiders-Cougars are kicking off an hour apart is well beyond me, but I do know that Team Sumlin will siphon all the attention no matter what the Owls pull off.

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It might be nice to take a lesson from the schools (OSU, UH) who package their marquee games in order to increase ticket sales to other games. Not only is UH going to be the focus this weekend, but they are also going to draw people away from the Rice game on Oct 24th against UCF, as the UH-Memphis game is part of their package. What does Rice do with a big name opponent? Move the game to Reliant.

Sounds like you have given up 48 hours before kick-off.

I think I will wait until the clock hits 00:00 and check the scoreboard first.

Optimistic: Not at all. The Owls can very much win this game, it's just that the path has become more treacherous with all the injuries. - MK

Maybe the wording needs some work. JMHO.

Optimistic: Nah, I'm pretty sure that I didn't go all Chicken Little and write that the sky was falling. Vanderbilt has one of those fast, physical defenses the Owls aren't accustomed to seeing, so even a healthy offense might have proven insufficient. Missing three starters doesn't help their chances, which should be viewed as obvious analysis not another one of my so-called 'defeatist' rants. Sunshine and roses ... - MK

You're in a tough position as a Rice employee regarding reporting injuries. But if Bailiff doesn't have a problem with releasing the info, I don't see why you can't. I understand the whole idea of keeping your opponent guessing, but ultimately I don't think it makes much difference come game time. Did the Toad lying about Chase's availability help the Owls in the NO Bowl?

On the attendance front. I don't know the UofH and Rice have ever taken steps to coordinate their start times so why should this be any different? Even if Rice were to start at 2 PM I don't think there'd be a big attendance swing.

Can we at least bring #31 around to try and see if he can go John Coffey on Fanuzzi's shoulder?

With Fanuzzi out, the play of some other guys on both sides of the ball is going to be all the more critical. Let's hope they step up.

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