- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Still, one can understand Notre Dame's alarm. The claims of steroid abuse and player abuse will be denied and in time forgotten. And Notre Dame will continue to win because Holtz can virtually guarantee that. But what might not be forgotten under the weight of all this testimony is something that former player Tom Riley said to the authors: "What separates Notre Dame now from any other school? Absolutely nothing."
A Mile Ahead
The time, 3:44.39, should astonish everyone. But no one should be the least bit surprised that when Steve Cram's eight-year-old world mile record of 3:46.32 finally fell, on Sunday in Rieti, Italy, it was to Nourredine Morceli. Though only 23, Morceli, a slightly built Algerian, has dominated the middle distances for the past four years. Indeed, shortly after Morceli burst onto the scene in 1990, former mile record holder John Walker of New Zealand, looking ahead to the '92 Olympics, said he could see no one beating Morceli in the 1,500 meters, the metric equivalent of the mile. "The only reason he hasn't broken the mile record already," added Walker, "is he races too often."
Walker has now been proved wrong on both counts. Morceli finished seventh in Barcelona, the victim of injury and bad tactics. Since then he has seemed bent on avenging that upset. He set his first outdoor world record four weeks later, running 3:28.86 for the 1,500. This year he has maintained a staggering schedule, narrowly missing his 1,500 mark in June, winning the world championship 1,500 in August and twice coming within a second of Cram's mile record, before shattering it under perfect conditions in Italy.
What's most astounding is that Morceli has done what he has without the goad of a real rival. "Most great milers through the ages have had someone at least in the neighborhood," says Craig Masback, a former 3:52 miler who now works as a TV commentator. "Ryun had Keino. Ovett and Coe had each other, and Cram had Aouita. Morceli is all by himself."
Though Malik Jackson, a standout strong safety on the Rutgers football team, was charged with robbery and aggravated assault following the June 23 mugging of a 21-year-old man in New Brunswick, N.J. (SCORECARD, July 26), Scarlet Knight coach Doug Graber refused to suspend him. "I know this young man; he's not capable of doing what he was accused of," said Graber, who allowed Jackson to continue practicing with the Knights while free on $25,000 bond.
Graber's faith was rewarded last Thursday, just two days before Rutgers' season opener against Colgate, when the Middlesex County prosecutor dropped all charges against Jackson after a grand jury determined that the arrest was a case of mistaken identity. The jury based its findings on two lie-detector tests that Jackson passed, as well as on phone records and a long list of witnesses who supported Jackson's assertion that he was in his dorm room studying on the night of the attack. Why was Jackson arrested in the first place? When a witness to the attack told police the assailants were "athletic-looking, well-built" young men, the police, in a curious bit of investigative procedure, got out the Rutgers football media guide, whereupon the witness pointed the finger at Jackson.
"This was very troubling to be falsely accused," said a relieved Jackson. "But I'm confident I can put this behind me. Now I'm going to concentrate on football and winning games." He got a fine start on Saturday, with four tackles, including a sack, in Rutgers' 68-6 rout of Colgate.