Fantasy Football: All it Takes is Generosity and a UCI Football Fund
Fall quarter will be in session in the midst of the college football season. Instead of beating a dead horse and asking why we don’t have a football team, I figured I could show HOW to make one in unrealistic fashion.
First: raise a few million dollars. Somebody out there has to have a grandfather who doesn’t want to give his money up to his ungrateful children. There’s a place called UC Irvine that would love your endowments, sir. Second: create a softball program and expand the number of female athletes to comply with Title IX laws that require equal representation from each gender. Third: field a team, which I’ve taken the liberty to assemble. Finally: Tailgate, drink responsibly and enjoy!
The Coaching Staff:
Head Coach: Russell Turner (Basketball) – Intimidating, inspiring, loud and always ready to draw up a play. Turner struts the sidelines in a suit.
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Gillespie (Baseball) – There’s no one more prepared for a baseball game than this Hall of Famer. Scouting reports are a must.
Defensive Coordinator: Scott Juniper (Women’s Soccer) – The Englishman may get too excited when asked to coach college fútbol, so Athletic Director Mike Izzi would have to make it clear that it’s American Football he’s signing on for. But once Juniper is game, watch him lead a tenacious defensive unit, much like how he created a stellar wall of defenders on the 2010 Sweet 16 women’s soccer team.
Special Teams: An eclectic approach featuring John Speraw (Men’s Volleyball), George Kuntz (Men’s Soccer) and Vince O’Boyle (Track) – Speraw has trained middle-blockers to stuff opponents for years, now he’ll do just the same working with the defensive line on punt and kick blocking. Kuntz will be an advisor to the kickers and punters, while O’Boyle will work with the kick and punt returners.
QB: D.J. Crumlich (Baseball) – A shortstop, Crumlich played quarterback at Irvine High. His size may be an issue at just 6 feet tall, so 6-foot-5-inch hurler Crosby Slaught may be giving him a run for his money, but the leadoff hitter just might be able to win the starting job as a scrambler.
WR: Charles Jock (Track) – Jock would be the Anteaters’ version of wide receiver Devin Hester. One of the fastest men in the world, Jock could create separation from his man and be a huge deep threat at receiver; but I’d avoid throwing the ball over the middle to him, those track stars aren’t used to contact. His yards per reception would be through the roof, but don’t expect him to break the century mark in receptions, a la Wes Welker. Give him some blocking on kick and punt returns and watch him fly.
WR: Andrew Fontein (Soccer) – The all-time leader in shutouts at goalkeeper in UCI men’s soccer history, Fontein’s hands and catlike reflexes make him a dangerous target. He’ll have fans wondering why there was no UCI football pre-Fontein.
WR: Mike Wilder (Basketball) – Wilder rounds out the receiving core. The team might have to hire someone skilled in braiding cornrows on staff, because Mike’s hair can’t fit under a helmet, but it works for Randy Moss. Wilder is the most sure-handed ball handler on the hardwood and also has a background in volleyball, allowing him to elevate higher than some 6-foot-7 opponents. While Jock is going deep, look for Wilder to catch slant passes across the middle and steal the show.
RB: Derrick Flowers (Basketball) – There’s no way Flowers is 6 feet, 170 pounds, which the programs list him at, but he has the shiftiness to weave through cracks in the offensive line and return kicks alongside Jock. Pray that he doesn’t get crushed though. Flowers will have to take a few blows and hit the gym to lower his fragility, but if he can handle being tackled, he just might be UCI’s version of Darren Sproles.
Tight End: Carson Clark (Volleyball) – At 6 feet 5 inches, Clark won’t compare to Jock’s speed, but could be a big target in goal-line situations. Watch him hold his own when blocking and sky over opposing safeties like he does when elevating over the net for kills. Clark looks like Sunshine from “Remember the Titans,” so don’t be surprised if he’s a dark horse in the quarterback competition.
Left Tackle: Phillip Ferragamo (Baseball) – There’s no question who’s protecting the quarterback’s blind side. Ferragamo is 6 feet 8 inches, 260 pounds and looks gigantic on a pitching mound; just wait till you see him in pads. We’ll need his size on both sides of the ball.
Left Guard: Alisha Misiaita (Track) – It’s controversial to throw a female athlete on the offensive line, but if anyone could do it, it’s most likely Alisha. As the women’s track team’s featured thrower, she heaves a discus and shot put with ease and could toss aside defensive lineman just as easily.
Center: Max Parrague (Water Polo) – At 6 feet 5 inches, 210 pounds, he’s undersized for a center, but Max is used to fighting for levity in the water and would work hard to protect his quarterback.
Right Guard: Don Caskey (Track) – The most experienced player and team captain is this freshman track thrower. Caskey is 6 feet 4 inches and once played offensive and defensive line for local powerhouse Mater Dei High School. Get the oxygen ready, he’s playing on both sides of the ball.
Right Tackle: Adam Folker (Basketball) – Coach Turner will place faith in one of his favorite rebounders. Folker is coming off of a hand injury from basketball, but his 6-foot-9, 225-pound body would be an asset in pass protection.
Cornerback: Christian “Titi” Ramirez (Baseball) – A centerfielder, Ramirez’s speed has swiped him some bags on the diamond. The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder has experienced a concussion this season and jumped back into action a couple weeks later, so football head injuries would be right up his alley.
Cornerback: Chris McNealy (Basketball) – McNealy is quick with long arms at 6 feet 3 inches, 170 pounds and could be a poor man’s Antonio Cromartie. A combination of agility and length make him a versatile defender.
SS: Dominic Jester (Track) – Jester is a high jumper and a sprinter and would bring welcomed athleticism to the defensive backfield.
FS: Chris Carson (Track) – A 200-meter sprinter, Carson could keep up with deep threats.
Right End: Jordan Leyland (Baseball) – The designated hitter, Leyland has limited speed, but his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame make him a potential run-stopper.
Defensive Tackles: Ferragamo (See LT), Caskey (See RG). One is huge, the other experienced; they’ll plug the middle.
Left End: Kevin Mulloy (Basketball) – Mulloy has sported black eyes this year after fighting for loose balls in basketball practice, it’s about time he let out his frustration on some quarterbacks – 6 feet 6 inches, 206 pounds.
LOLB: Matt Summers (Baseball) – The man with the no-hitter. Summers played defensive end in high school, but after seeing his agility when fielding his position and his bulldog mentality on the mound, I wouldn’t put it past him to lay out running backs on the gridiron at linebacker.
MLB: Daman Starring (Basketball) – Able to play guard or forward on the hardwood, Starring looks like he can make a few tackles in the open field at linebacker. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder communicates well with teammates and would quarterback the defense.
ROLB: Everett Pitts (Soccer) – Pitts is 6 feet 2 inches, 170 pounds. After seeing his defense on the soccer field, Pitts looks like he could lay opponents flat on their backs, but could use 10 to 15 more pounds of muscle.
Kicker: Miguel Ibarra (Soccer) – At 5 feet 7 inches, 135 pounds, the Anteater forward could be shades of Bill Gramatica – a flimsy soccer player with a big boot. Let’s hope he doesn’t tear his ACL in celebration like Gramatica did in 2001.
Punter: CoCo Goodson (Soccer) – This girl is tough and can clear a soccer ball like no one’s business. Don’t be suprised if UCI’s prized defensive transfer from the University of Texas tackles returners in punt coverage.
Football at UCI is improbable, but not impossible. The current economic crisis is unavoidable and programs are being cut rather than started, but I implore you Anteaters: If you’re a UCI fan and you complain about the absence of a football team, be selfless. Someday you could be a doctor, CEO, engineer or lawyer with an excess of wealth. It takes one person to begin an Anteater Football Fund and contribute to someday allow UCI students to watch Anteaters on the gridiron.
I’m off to play the Lotto and see where it gets me, but until next fall, take care of yourselves Anteaters.