With the UFL struggling financially, the start of training camps were pushed back by one month, but the start of the season would remain the same. The day after Pat White reported to his first camp with the Virginia Destroyers, the league sent everyone home while they tried to figure out how to limit, or compensate, for a $20 million shortfall in their budget. They have limited television exposure. They had games televised on HDNet, Versus, and other regional sports networks last season after failing to negotiate deals with CBS and TNT. This season, Versus, for now, is out of the picture, and television will be limited to HDNet and the other regional sports networks. So, check your local listings.
One solution UFL league officials came up with was to suspend operations for their Hartford Colonials team. The Colonials played in the same stadium UCONN plays their home games in, and compared to other UFL teams and their stadiums, the cost to host one game was almost double in price from what it cost the other four teams in the league to host theirs.
So, going forward with four teams, Virginia, Omaha, Sacramento, and Las Vegas, the league takes to the practice fields on Friday, August 26. During the one day that Pat White was in camp with the Destroyers in July, he was able to get a playbook and meet his new teammates and coaching staff. Noel Devine, on the other hand, signed last week with the Omaha Nighthawks, and hasn't had that opportunity.
Devine won't have to compete with LeSean McCoy in the backfield of the Nighthawks like he had to in Philly. No, now his competition is Maurice Clarett, the former Ohio St. Buckeye and Denver Bronco. Devine says that he is fully healed and ready to go after walking out of Eagles camp.
"What happened, happened, and I'm not going to look back," Devine told the Marco Island (Fla.) Sun Times. "I'm fine. I need some time to get back mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever God has in store for me."
Pat White, on the other hand, faces some stiff competition if he wants to start at quarterback for the Destroyers. He will start out behind Chris Griesen at quarterback. Griesen led the Florida Tuskers (now the Virginia franchise) to the league championship game last season. Unlike in the past, White has said that he would be open to playing a position other than quarterback, and as I highlighted last week, that may be the way White gets on the field more as he tries to work his way back onto an NFL roster. Destroyers head coach, Marty Schottenheimer, may try to find other ways to get White on the field. Kick returner, wide receiver, and third-down running back have all been mentioned. When White signed with the Destroyers, the UFL touted White as one of the biggest signings in league history. You can be sure the team will find a way to get White on the field.
Devine and White will face off against each other in the season opener for both teams on Thursday 9/15. Keep checking back here for updates on Devine and White.
Other WVU Pros notes
- John Flowers signed with the Saitama Broncos in Japan to help strengthen their roster.
- Joe Alexander signed with BC Krasnye Krylya in Russia at the end of July. One of the stipulations of his one-year contract with that team is that there is no 'Out Clause.' Meaning, that if the NBA Lockout ends, Alexander cannot get out of his contract with his new Russian team. Alexander traveled to multiple tryouts with different teams just before the NBA Lockout fell, trying to earn a contract. He spent last season in the the NBDL, earning All-Star and All-League status.
- Darris Nichols accepted a coaching position at Northern Kentucky University. NKU is making the jump from D-II to D-I in 2012, and the jump to a higher level allows them to have one more assistant coach, which will be Nichols.
- During former Terrelle Pryor's Pro-Day last week in front of NFL scouts, he was throwing his passes to Alric Arnett.
- Dorrell Jalloh was a member of the Gotham Rogues in the new Batman movie, Dark Knight Rising. The scenes in which Jalloh will appear were filmed at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Devin Ebanks has spent most of his summer in the Washington D.C. area refining and working on his game. Lakers management gave Ebanks instructions over the summer, and during the Lockout, to work on his skills as a shooting guard.