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Football was for me

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Thomas from Jacksonville:
I work at one of the local TV stations and I can vouch for the fervor to see snow, as after working the Jaguars game Sunday and returning to the station with my video, we were inundated with phone calls to put the Patriots game back on when the network took it off for a much closer game.

Vic: Snow creates an amazing visual. Clearly, the most memorable game of the last several years in Jaguars history was the snow game in Pittsburgh two years ago. I remember how so many people back in Jacksonville wanted to talk to me about that game and every one of them mentioned the snow. Even the Jaguars players told of being energized when they came out of the locker room for the start of the game and they saw the white-out conditions.

Mark from Sunnyvale, CA:
The Jaguars are in the thick of it. Are they getting better?

Vic: They are, without a doubt, getting better. The big question is: How good can they get?

Jonathan from Q-West, Iraq:
Why doesn't our backup QB hold for the PATs and field goals? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a guy who can do something with it if the snap is botched?

Vic: Punters, kickers and long-snappers practice together on a separate field while the rest of the team practices on another field. That's the reason. This is an age of specialization. You want your kicker and your holder to have a full-time relationship.

Charlie from Nashville, TN:
In an excerpt from his new book, Chuck Klosterman argues that football's success in this country is tied to its ability to seem conservative, gritty and throwback, while at the same time being the most innovative, progressive sport we have. As he notes, it was Nixon's favorite game, but it was also Hunter S. Thompson's. Your thoughts?

Vic: That all sounds good but none of that pertains to me. Before I ever knew what my politics would be, I knew football was for me. I knew it the moment I wandered upon my hometown high school football team's practice one day, when I was probably five or six years old. I remember it as though it was yesterday and it sealed the deal for the rest of my life. My hometown was a football power and it had a star player named McKinley Combs. Oh, could he run with the ball. The hit song at that time was "Mack the Knife" and I honestly believed it was made for him. I later played with his brother, Tyrone. The lights on Friday night lit up the town and drew me as a magnet draws steel. I was one of those kids who lived in the shadow of the high school and it was the epicenter of my life. The sound of the band practicing stirred me. The glow of the lights in the night sky on a Thursday could only mean the junior high team was playing and that sent me into a dead sprint for the field. I was a constant AWOL problem for my mother, but she always knew where I was. I remember being sick and not being able to go to school on a Friday when my hometown was to play its cross-river rival. My parents wouldn't let me go to the game that night because I was sick, which made me even sicker. That night, I sat on the porch, wrapped in a blanket, and listened to the sounds coming from the game. The loudest sounds I knew were good, and fight songs, of course, were played following touchdowns. I knew the sounds so well that I knew exactly what the final score was, and it was confirmed the next morning when I ran down the steps to get the newspaper I had just heard hit the front door. I sometimes think that because of where I grew up, I really had no choice but to spend my whole life chasing football.

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
I finally figured out the reason for the ticket problems. You and the team that does the website do such a good job that there is no incentive to go to the game. You want to sell tickets? Stop the game-day blog.

Vic: I can't do that. I need the money and I don't know how to do anything else.

Steve from Crystal River, FL:
Am I the only one who thinks LaDainian Tomlinson is old and can't run anymore?

Vic: There was a play on Monday night that was sad to see. Tomlinson had broken into the secondary and was confronted by a defender who had sunk his hips to make the tackle. It didn't get any easier than this for Tomlinson in his prime; make a step to the outside and then dart back inside and goodbye. Tomlinson's prime, however, is gone. He made the step to the outside but his move back to the inside was so slow and weak that it was sad to see. The defender made the tackle, one-on-one. It's a young man's game.

John from Starke, FL:
After watching the Torry Holt interview on "NFL Network," I think the Jags not only hit a home run but it was a grand slam. I know the draft class has been a very good one for Gene but getting Holt was outstanding. He has got to be the ideal pro. You must really love to interview him.

Vic: Yeah, football is a young man's game, but I love interviewing the old pro's. Losing Fred was tough for me. Getting Torry has helped fill some of the void. I really like interviewing Torry. He gets it.

D.J. from Jacksonville:
Love your work and would miss it dearly. Keep it up. Can you give us your bye week opinions on the progress and standing of each of our rookies?

Vic: Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton are playing and developing their skills as expected. Terrance Knighton and Derek Cox, in my opinion, are the best one-two punch in this year's draft. Mike Thomas is exactly the kind of wide receiver this team needed, which is to say someone who could run something other than a slant. Thomas has given the field width. Zach Miller is starting to emerge. Jarett Dillard is waiting in the wings. Rashad Jennings showed us in the Tennessee game that when the holes are there he can go. His challenge is to become a tougher runner when the holes aren't there. I've been told Tiquan Underwood has flashed in practice. That's 4.29 speed and that's why I remain intrigued by him. I wanna see that speed on the field. The bottom line is there isn't one dud in the whole draft class.

Bryan from Daytona Beach, FL:
What team has the worst press box?

Vic: The Raiders have the worst. It's a goofy, split-box set up and the lounge is down in the bowels of the stadium. It's 1970's-esque.

Joel from Jacksonville:
One of your answers raised a question. Are you saying that if a team tried to kick a field goal from the five-yard line and missed, the opposing team would get the ball at the 20 and not from where the ball was kicked?

Vic: Assuming the kick wasn't blocked, etc., it would be spotted at the 20.

Bryan from Jacksonville:
Will the Broncos players who twisted their throwback socks be fined? I think they make players on the other team dizzy and that's why they are doing so well. I love the new Jaguars helmets.

Vic: I think they should be fined because they distorted the appearance of the uniform. Frankly, I think the Broncos should've treated the matter as an offense to their tradition and should've taken steps to make sure it didn't happen or was quickly fixed.

Robert from Green Cove Springs, FL:
I was wondering if you had any update you could share on the status of Rashean Mathis' injury. If surgery is needed and he is out for an extended period of time, who would you expect to start in his place?

Vic: Jack Del Rio isn't offering much information on Mathis' injury, for the obvious reason. He sent word to reporters on Wednesday that Mathis' injury isn't serious and that he would provide updated information next week. In other words, he's not saying anything until he has to say something.

Justin from Jacksonville:
I saw during the Yankees vs. Angels game that one of the hitters smelled his bat after he hit a foul ball. The announcers couldn't figure out what it meant. Do you know why a batter does that?

Vic: He did it because he likes the smell of burning wood, which is what you get when a 90-mph fastball grazes the glaze of a wooden bat.

Chris from Palm Beach Gardens, FL:
When a player gets fined, where does that money go? What about coaches?

Vic: All fine money goes to charity.

Jami from Arlington, VA:
How do you plan on spending the bye weekend?

Vic: I'm taking Friday off. I'll do some work around the house, hit some golf balls, watch some football, read, etc. That's all. I'm looking forward to it. The next "Ask Vic" will appear on Monday, Oct. 26.

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