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Downs and distance

September 9, 2011

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1. Hold your horses
Disgraced Ohio State coach Jim Tressel landed on his feet in Indianapolis, where the Colts hired him as a game-day video consultant to help decide when the team should challenge rulings on the field. Tressel won’t be working this weekend, however, as the Colts have decided that their new employee won’t work until Week 7, effectively handing out a six-game ban for his transgressions while running the Buckeyes. Whether the penalty was Tressel’s idea (that’s what the team claims) or the brainchild of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (who honored the NCAA’s five-game ban for Buckeye-turned-Raider Terrelle Pryor), it’s a good call. Tressel shouldn’t be allowed to walk away scot-free, the way Pete “Get Out Of Dodge’’ Carroll was allowed to escape to Seattle after leaving Southern Cal in shambles.

2. Clashin' fashion
Where did you get that helmet? It’s awful! And that jersey and those pants? Geeeez! Couldn’t help but channel my inner Johnny from “Airplane’’ after flipping on the Miami-Maryland game Monday night. For a second I thought I had turned on ESPN Classic by accident and stumbled across an old NFL Europe game featuring the Scottish Claymores and London Monarchs. Those Terrapin uniforms were not easy on the eyes. The costumes, inspired by the state flag, looked like they were designed by a first-grader whose assignment was to use every crayon in his oversized box. We could go on and on about how putrid these get-ups looked, but noted fashion critic LeBron James may have summed it up best on Twitter: “OH GOSH! Maryland uniforms #Ewwwwww!’’ Indeed.

3. She was covered
Jack Long and Shane Simpson will never win the Heisman Trophy. The two Missouri Western defensive backs won’t be considered for the Jim Thorpe Award, either. But Long and Simpson deserve to be recognized for some off-field heroics. Upon leaving practice on a 95-degree day last month, the pair saw a woman banging on her car window. They stopped to help and discovered the woman had locked her 17-month-old grandson in the car. “I was panicked and horrified,’’ Teresa Gall told KSHB-TV. “He was crying and getting sick, and I couldn’t get to him.’’ Gall could not break a window. “All I could think was, ‘God, please send somebody.’ ’’ That’s when Simpson stepped up and shattered the window, saving the toddler, who made a full recovery. Gall and family are now fans of the Griffons for life.

4. Old yeller
It was a tough opening week for a lot of coaches (Frank Spaziani, Mark Richt, and Chip Kelly, to name a few) but nobody had it tougher than Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly. Certainly the spotlight shines brightly in South Bend, Ind., and Kelly has been blistered by media, fans, and alumni (both real and subway) for myriad reasons in the wake of the Fighting Irish’s loss to South Florida. To criticize Kelly for his team being woefully ill-prepared for its home opener (how could senior QB Dayne Crist look so lost?) is fair. But to rip Kelly for getting in his players’ faces? That’s weak. He’s not coaching the Malden Pop Warner D squad. He’s coaching young men who need to be reminded that mental lapses can lead to losses. A good sideline nutty or two can go a long way toward righting the ship. Just ask Lou Holtz.