Idiosyncratic Routine — Aug. 10

This is my personal blog, the "Idiosyncratic Routine" (those fond of Kevin Smith's films will get the title). Here, each day, I'll write on random topics, both Bucs related and non-Bucs related. Because, well, I can never write enough, and sometimes the things I learn on this beat can't be fit into a story. So, until the carpal tunnel sets in, I'll keep typing.

Friday, Aug. 10

Driving the back roads

Driving back from my hometown of Longview, Texas, to Denton on Friday, I was reminded of how much that drive down I-20 resembles my drives from my home in North Port, Fla., to Gainesville these days. Same rolling hills, same trees, same cows grazing in pastureland. The similarities are pretty eerie.

I made an unscheduled stop in Big Sandy, Texas — hometown of former Bucs assistant coach and current Bears head coach Lovie Smith. While there is a street named after Lovie in this small east Texas hamlet (you'll need directions. This street is well off the beaten path, even for a town as small as Big Sandy), but there's no "Hometown of Lovie Smith sign greeting you as you enter town on Highway 80.

Lovie Smith. (AP)
That just seems wrong to me. Smith has helped put Big Sandy — which won three state titles in the 1970s with Smith and the late David Overstreet on those teams — on the map. I mean, drive toward nearby Lindale on I-20 going east and you're greeted with a billboard touting it as the hometown of budding country star Miranda Lambert (who, sorry Lovie, is a welcome sight to any male traveler). Enter nearby Quitman and there's a sign, just under the Rotary Club sign, touting it as the hometown for Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek.

But no sign for Lovie. Of course, as humble as he is, that probably suits him just fine.

Bucs and Pats

As you've probably surmised, I was not at the preseason opener on Friday night. I'm in Texas this weekend for my annual fantasy football draft in the Lone Star Football League, which I've been involved in since 1993. Most of us went to college together at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. We went to dinner tonight in nearby Bedford. It's always great to see everybody, because we swap old stories we've told 100 times, but they're new to my fiancée, so I get a kick out of seeing her reaction to the stories we've laughed at for years.

As for the Bucs game, I can tell you that Luke McCown had a good night, judging by his touchdown pass to Paris Warren in the second quarter. Otherwise, it looked like a defensive struggle, judging from the play-by-plays and the box score. I have a writer at the game and he'll be delivering an analysis to me shortly for your reading enjoyment.

Meanwhile, if you get the chance, click on this link to Gary Shelton's column on Mike Alstott. I didn't look at Gary's column in the St. Pete Times before I wrote mine, but it appears we took the same tact. Of course, Gary being Gary, he produced a far more eloquent column than I could produce. Here's the link to my column.

That's all for today I have a fantasy draft to prepare for. MP

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