100% Cotten: Cotten Briefs

Oct. 22, 2006

Swank Stock on the Rise

If he wasn't already, Sam Swank is now a very noticeable and repeating image on the radar screen of every NFL scout from Miami to Seattle. But the best part is that Swank will be a Deacon for two more seasons.

We watched for four years as Ryan Plackemeier developed into the best punter in the history of college football. Well, take notice. Here comes Sam Swank with both barrells. He's already a very good punter and should only get better. He's definitely had his moments. Like an 86-yard punt early in the season to wipe away Plack's record for the longest punt in Wake Forest history.

But Sam's not just a punter. The chilled Floridian also shares the Wake Forest record for the longest field goal in a game. Swank did that - twice - against N.C. State when he banged through kicks with ease from 53 yards away. And for an encore, he drilled a 54-yard punt against the Pack to force State into a long field with the Deacs leading by two. And we remember how that game ended.

So I'm going to state it right now. I will not take Sam Swank for granted. I will not take Sam Swank for granted. I will not take Sam Swank for granted. But if they give a trophy to the college game's best current dual kicker - punter and plackekicker - you'd might as well engrave it now and bolt it to the dash of his car because Sam Swank is that guy.

And I said I wouldn't take Sam for granted. Oh well.

Say What?

As I write this it's early Sunday morning following Wake's Forest's open date. I spent last night watching Tennessee and Alabama clash on the DVR followed by Georgia Tech and Clemson with an eye on the Tigers who inhabit the ACC Atlantic with the Deacons. Clemson just played with Tech. Tech didn't play period. The Tigers made a wreck of Calvin Johnson and Company for four quarters and continued on the roll they began on the first play of the fourth quarter of their game in Winston-Salem against Wake Forest.

The Tech-Tiger game was broadcast by ESPN with Mike Patrick and Todd Blackledge in the booth. Now let me state for the record that I like Todd Blackledge both personally and as a broadcaster. But did you catch what he said during the broadcast of that game? Unless my ears deceived me, Todd was contemplating Clemson's stats for the season, which are terrific on both sides of the ball, but wondered aloud if Clemson was really that good because "...they really haven't played anybody other than Boston College."

I'm going to give Todd the benefit of the doubt on that one. Surely he just briefly forgot that Wake was 6-1 at the time and had taken it to the Tigers at Groves Stadium for three quarters before the fourth period flip. Surely. Or will the Deacs have to go 11-1 or 10-2 before they get some solid respect? Time will tell.

Happy for Josh

About a month back I stumbled into the Wake practice gym on the tip that Josh Howard was on campus working out. I sneaked a peek and sure enough there he was working on his jump shot. He was alone. No entourage. No fanfare. Just Josh being Josh. He smiled that big grin of his and walked over to say hello. He looked a little bigger - a tad older - but not much different than when he was a Deacon. But he knew his world was about to change...for the good.

And it has.

Josh and the Dallas Mavericks have agreed to a new contract. Four years. Forty million. I can only smile about that, for a lot of reasons. I'm just happy for Josh. Happy to see him continue the journey. Happy that he persevered through some hard times at Wake to eventually earn his degree and become the best player in the ACC. Happy to see someone realize a dream.

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