Sunday, July 20, 2008

"I'm Goin' to Jackson...Gonna Mess Around..."

I give myself a 9.3 on usage of a Johnny Cash lyric as a headline. The Romanian judge will probably stiff me with an 8.8.

With the Saints starting training camp this week, I figured this would be a good time to post something I received in an email from the Sports Nuggets newsletter. 'The Nuggets' is a small email group that receives news, stats, opinion, analysis and occasionally, a scoop, on all things related to sports in Louisiana, from one writer. He chooses to keep things strictly to a mass email group, but I'm trying to coax him into posting for Hakim Drops the Ball. In the meantime, here's something that I found in my mailbox this morning from Mr. Sports Nuggets. Enjoy.

The Saints begin training camp in Jackson, Mississppi at Millsaps College on Thursday, July 24. The will have two practices on Thursday. Lots of questions, as usual, going into training camp, with one being "Why go to Jackson?"

Ken Trahan and Ed Daniels, a pair of television sports personalities from New Orleans, brought it up on their Sat. morning radio show and had a good discussion. I agree with the two about Jackson: Sean Payton is the only reason why. A good part of Payton's interview with Tom Benson and Mickey Loomis surrounded training camp philosophy and selling them on going to Jackson and spending money to move the operation for a few weeks.

Payton is a huge disciple of Bill Parcells and ‘The Tuna’ was big on having training camp away from your own facility and comforts of home. While the Spartan lifestyle of training camp isn’t what it once was, there are a few advantages of going away. But why not keep things in state and put the dollars to work for our economy instead of Mississippi?

Ken and Ed suggested going to Lafayette and using ULL as a base for training camp ops. ULL would be better than SLU or Nicholls State and Lafayette would be great at accommodating the club. Lafayette has the amenities to handle the team and fans that come to watch. It is the fourth largest city in the state. ULL has an indoor facility that looks just like the one the Saints utilize on Airline. While it lacks air-conditioning, I am sure the Saints could write a check for that just like they did for improvements at Nicholls State and SLU. When it rains at Millsaps, the team either waits out the rain or goes in the gym.

If fans want to see the team practice, they have to drive three hours north from New Orleans (186 miles, according to Google Maps). Lafayette is a two-hour trip to the west (135 miles, according to Google Maps), plus, many Saints' fans live along the I-10 corridor, which means a shorter trip and less money to fill up the tank. It’s the economy, Saints fans!

Cajun Field at ULL holds 30,000-plus and would be great at accommodating a scrimmage crowd – better than Guidry Stadium at Nicholls or Strawberry at SLU. It's not the 50,000-plus that the Indy Bowl holds in Shreveport, but maybe a small expansion, aided by the Saints, could host a pre-season game. I’m probably asking for too much because the team would lose money for a smaller pre-season crowd, but it’s still a legit idea.

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