Downs and distance

By Jim McBride
Globe Staff / October 29, 2010

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1. Bad example
Derek Dooley is pretty entertaining. More so than his team. The Tennessee coach, whose Volunteers have lost five of their last six games, gave an impromptu history lesson during his weekly media briefing Monday. Asked about his team’s inability to make in-game adjustments or handle adversity, Dooley likened the situation to the D-Day invasion of Normandy. “Right now we’re like the Germans in World War II,’’ said Dooley. “Here come the boats . . . It’s like, ‘Oh my God, the invasion is coming . . . We weren’t ready for this, now what do we do?’ ’’ Dooley apologized to the people of Germany, saying his intent was not to offend anyone. I’m betting there are more than a few US veterans offended by a coach comparing a football game to a war. 2. Bower power
Jim Bower is proving to be more resourceful than Jack Bauer — and the Maine Maritime fullback goes about his business in 60 minutes rather than 24 hours. Bower, a returning All-American who led the nation last year with 1,605 rushing yards, is having another terrific season. His latest highlight came in the Mariners’ 28-27 Admiral’s Cup win over Mass. Maritime last week. After pulling within 27-26, in the fourth quarter, Maine coach Chris McKenney decided to go for 2, and everyone in the house knew the 5-foot-9-inch, 228-pound Bower would get the ball. He didn’t disappoint, crashing into the end zone. Bower, who recently passed 5,000 yards for his career, has the Mariners (6-1) in first place in the NEFC’s Bogan Division. 3. Weak night game
Boise State kicked the snot out of its latest opponent — pinning a 49-20 loss on a game Louisiana Tech squad. What, you missed it? Oh, maybe that’s because it was on Tuesday night. It’s understandable why the Broncos, who have to fight for recognition every season, play games at odd times. They think that if they’re the only game on the slate, fans — and media — will be compelled to watch. However, this thinking is flawed. Only diehard fans (you know, the ones who already know how good the Broncos are) watch college football on Tuesday nights — or even know it’s on. If coach Chris Petersen wants exposure for his club, he should stick to a Saturday schedule with the occasional Thursday night affair sprinkled in. 4. Red alert
Nebraska fans are among the most rabid in all of college football (hey, what else is there to do in Lincoln, Neb.?), and they’ll be at their loudest tomorrow when the undefeated and seventh-ranked Missouri Tigers come to Memorial Stadium for a huge Big 12 showdown. The Cornhusker crazies will be particularly harsh on Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who helped orchestrate last week’s upset of Oklahoma. Gabbert, the 6-foot-5-inch, rifle-armed junior, is hated by Big Red fans because he jilted them. A prized recruit out of Ballwin, Mo., Gabbert verbally committed to Nebraska before changing his mind when coach Bill Callahan was let go. Gabbert has been spectacular this season, throwing for 1,899 yards and 11 TDs with just 3 INTs.