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Thursday, August 4, 2011
3-point stance: Kelly sticks his neck out

By Ivan Maisel

1. I always cut coaches a wide swath on player discipline. They know the details and the player better than those of us on the outside. That said, I’m surprised that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly didn’t suspend wide receiver Michael Floyd beyond spring football after Floyd’s third arrest for alcohol last March. Floyd says he has been humbled and embarrassed, and he sounds as if he’s learned a lesson. Kelly has stuck his neck out for his player. Floyd would be wise to protect it.

2. Northwestern’s Heisman campaign for senior quarterback Dan Persa may be premature, particularly when the senior is recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered late last season. But the PersaStrong idea is clever and refreshingly old school. A pair of purple seven-pound dumbbells arrived at my door this week; according to the Wildcats, the ‘Cats, the 6-1, 210-pound Persa (No. 7) is the best pound-for-pound quarterback in the country. Let’s just hope that mended Achilles is PersaStrong.

3. Bubba Smith, who died Wednesday at 66, became not only an All-American on the great Michigan State teams of the mid-1960s, but a symbol of the cost of segregation to southern football. Smith, of Beaumont, Texas, grew up in an era when southern and southwestern schools refused to sign African-Americans. Shortly after Baltimore selected Smith with the first pick of the 1967 NFL draft, SEC schools began to breach the color line. Neither the league nor, for that matter, Michigan State, was ever the same.