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Gabey’s Descent into Pandemic Insanity, Plus One Football Thought Pt. 2

It’s fun to be excited about linebackers again. And kittens are cool.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 USC at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hoo lordy, did I think it would be almost two months in between my first and second pandemic nutso pieces? Nope. No I did not. But sometimes your brain loses mmmmmos-all bandwidth during the days you’re not working and then you check the calendar and oh goodness it’s almost June!

So how are you doing? Pretty good and/or bad? That’s all cool. No right answer.

Anyhoo, as we’ve got minimal sports content and, in my case, a lot less to do, I’ll be chronicling my descent into madness and couple each piece with thoughts on a single sports aspect for the next while until either A) this pandemic is over or B) I die of this pandemic, whichever comes first. So, presenting:

We interrupt this presentation with a message from one of our sponsors on “How to Improve Your Pandemic”

Last time I gave you guys a sneak peak into my daily hand-washing schedule and accompanying thoughts, which mostly alternated between “Yay! Handwashing for my health!” and “Handwashing: Ow.” Today, though, I’m bucking an unofficial policy at UWDP of not publishing sponsored content — because today I’m proud to be coming to you as a brand ambassador for Kittens, Inc. (Motto: “Easier than dogs.”) (Dogs, Inc., motto: “Easier than spouses.”)*

Have you ever thought “Gee, I miss my cat who is dead”? Or maybe “I do not like cats”?

In other words, are you lonely and/or going nuts in the pandemic? The answer better be “Heck yes I am,” because otherwise you’re a clinical psychopath. Even your mom agrees. That’s right, I called your mom and asked if she thinks your a psychopath and she does.

But there’s good news. And that good news takes its form in kittens. If you’re of the former train of thought, kittens are especially great because they fulfill the whole “being alive” requirement, which is the best way for a cat to be. If you’re the latter who doesn’t like cats, just remember: These aren’t cats. These are kittens. Whole other ball game, buckaroo.

“But Gabey,” you say. “Kittens turn into cats! I hate cats!” Well, first off, have you tried telling your kittens politely — yet firmly: “Do not grow up to be a casshole”? (“Casshole” is a word recognized by Merriam Webster that’s a portmanteau of “cat” and — ya know what, you get it.) If not, try it. It works. Kittens only transform into the kind of casshole that people hate if, as kittens, you the human are an “asshole” to them. (“Asshole” is a word recognized by Merriam Webster as “Someone who terrorizes kittens by chasing them with a Philips Sonicare toothbrush and then wonders why the same kittens grow up to be cassholes in return.”) But if even then you’re unconvinced, just think of cats as sentient hot water bottles who keep your feet warm from damp Washington October nights all the way to next year’s damp Washington October nights.

Plus, how many times have you thought, “Ya know, my quality of life would be improved by more mutilated rat bodies on my trip to the mailbox”?

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. You don’t get kittens because they eventually turn into cats. You get kittens because they’re kittens, gosh dang it. Whatever happens after they stop being kittens is irrelevant.

For those of us going nuts in quarantine (read: everyone), we present kittens. Kittens are like puppies, except they don’t whine at night or shit on your floor. Would they make a good live mascot like Dubs? Of course not, but kittens aren’t here to woo-woo in front of 70,000 people, they’re here to jump up on your table and eat your food while you’re distracted by a scarringly-detailed catheter commercial.

And did you know a 3-pound kitten provides the body heat equivalent of 16 whole Krakatoa eruptions? That’s right! For the price of only two kittens on your lap (free!), you too can experience Alabama-in-July from the comfort of your own home.

Now, will your kitten discover that fingers/toes/armpits are bite-able? Yes. But will they do so at 3 AM while you’re in the middle of REM sleep? Also yes.

But wait — there’s more! They’ll also purr one (1) millimeter away from your ear at a volume somewhere between “your neighbor’s leaf blower” and “blitzkrieg.” And as if that’s not enough, they’ll also try to burrow under your arm over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again even though it’s two in the morning and you want to sleep damn it but even though you want to sleep you can’t help but be a little bit smitten with the fact that apparently something on this planet has its own version of loving you because it doesn’t know the world’s burning but it does know that you are kind to it and give it food and let it sleep on your lap while you’re working even though you’ve had to pee for hours now and your bladder can’t take it anymore but goddammit you will not disturb this sleeping kitten because you’re pretty sure it’s the last 100% good thing left.

But also because if you woke it up it would probably start teething on your hand, and it has deceptively strong jaws.

*Wedding Industry, motto: “Without us, who’d you watch Netflix with?”**
**Netflix, motto: “We own you now.”

And with that out of the way, our football thought

That is: I have way more confidence in next season’s (whenever that may come) inside linebackers than 2019’s. It’s not like that’s a particularly bold take, seeing as how last year’s inside linebacking group was made up of two seniors who were not what we in the biz call “good,” three redshirt freshmen, and a boatload of true freshmen.

Also — while at this point I’d be shocked if college football happens in its standard form in 2020, I’m still gonna refer to everything as though it’ll continue since otherwise there’s so many unpredictable factors out of fans’, players’, and coaches’ control.

Still, out of the three defensive groups (four if you count OLBs as their own entity), ILBs are quite easily the unit I have least confidence in — but that’s more a reflection on how well-positioned the secondary and defensive line is than anything else. If I had to guess, next season’s inside linebackers would be anywhere from average to quite good-but-not-yet-great. But that’s still a big fat improvement from 2019. Plus with the secondary having things figured out and the defensive line interior being certifiably kickass, a fine-to-possibly-very-good inside linebacker group rounds that out to mean, although there’s obvious unknown aspects of the offense (more on that later), this defense should be able to carry the team against most competition and keep them in any game pretty much no matter what.

For one, going into the next season, I simply have so much confidence relative to the same time last year in at least one presumptive starter, Eddie Ulofoshio — and there’s no single player I have no confidence in. Compared to last year, where we had two presumptive starters, one of whom it was common knowledge he wasn’t fast enough, and the other who looked like a linebacker and thus we assumed would be serviceable but who hadn’t shown much in his previous years.

Ulofoshio has shown more as a redshirt freshman walk-on than Wellington had as a junior scholly player, respectively, and the other bucket of young linebackers who we saw last year have mostly too; if Ulofoshio is a smart, reliable tackler with good instincts, MJ Tafisi is an enforcer and Jackson Sirmon something of a combo. Even one of those traits is an improvement on last year, so... all of them? Sounds good. Then there’s the huge cohort of redshirt frosh behind them where — even if we knew nothing about them — just based on their numbers it’d be statistically likely that, at the very least, one of them doesn’t suck. Maybe even many of them. And we do know something about them, namely that the evidence posits that they probably don’t suck.

So that’s nice.

That’s it for my thoughts, and as a reminder from Kittens, Inc, this post was brought to you by these adorable mothereffers:

Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.