Super Bowl notes from Jan. 30.
The only former No. 1 overall draft pick who will play Sunday is Eli Manning. Tim Couch made it to Super Bowl XLII in spirit, anyway. Couch, Cleveland’s ill-fated No. 1 overall pick of the 1999 draft, was Jared Lorenzen’s hero. Lorenzen is a backup Giants quarterback. That’s a story. Couch, one of the most storied players in Kentucky Wildcats history, is out of football. Lorenzen, once known as the fat guy who followed Couch, is in a Super Bowl. “It’s funny the way stuff works out,’’ Lorenzen said. “Tim really opened up the whole offense for me. He taught me how to be a quarterback in the SEC.” Lorenzen didn’t start at Kentucky until 2000, but he leaned heavily on Couch in the latter’s final college season, 1998. “Tim is still a legend,” Lorenzen said. “He’s still somebody I really look up to. He can flat-out play.” Yes, Lorenzen put that in the present tense, even though Couch last took an NFL snap on Dec. 29, 2003, at Cincinnati. Ironically, Lorenzen’s position coach, Chris Palmer, was Couch’s head coach his first two years in Cleveland. “Chris is awesome,” Lorenzen said. “He has a different way of teaching that is effective. He keeps the mood light.” Lorenzen, who has matured and slimmed down, is good-natured about his former weight problem. Asked what his current weigh-in is compared to his college days, he smiled and said, “Less.” Lorenzen has a rocket arm and good mobility ‹ he could move even when his belly hung over his pants. “Obviously, I want to start somewhere, some day in this league,” he said. “I’m still young.” He’s 26, four years younger than Couch. They Really Like Me In 2006, most of the Giants wanted to send crusty coach Tom Coughlin to Siberia. Recently, they showed him some love when they won in Siberia. That is, they rallied around him after the NFC title game in bitter-cold Green Bay with warm hugs and handshakes. As he prepares for the Super Bowl, Coughlin smiles about not being subjected to a Gatorade shower. “That would have been one I would have stepped back and questioned,” Coughlin said. “I would have thought, ŒWhat angle are they coming from on that one?” A Lack of Belief In September, the Giants were 0-2, and The Big Apple was saying rotten things about them. “Everybody was calling for our heads,” defensive end Osi Umeyiroa said. “They said Coughlin should be fired. Strahan’s too old. I’m a one-year wonder. “All of a sudden, we turned it around.” Yet they finished with a modest record of 10-6, the same record as the Browns, who didn’t even reach the playoffs. Now they’re being told they’re no more than chum for the sharks from the Boston Harbor. “We’re not animals,” Umenyiora said. “We watch TV. We hear what is said about us. After a while, you develop an attitude.” ‘Flats’ Adds Fizz Giants center Shaun O’Hara, who started for the Browns on their 2002 playoff team, said line coach Pat “Flats” Flaherty has been important in the Super Bowl run. “He sets the mood in the O-line room,” O’Hara said. “I’ve been in other O-line rooms where guys are real stiff and it’s all business. Sometimes coaches have a hard time letting players enjoy their work. “Flats lets us enjoy working hard.” This is the second straight Giants Super Bowl in which a former Browns starting lineman has started for New York. Lomas Brown did the honors in 2000. Gone with the Patriots The Bill Belichick mystique doesn’t necessarily dissolve after a guy has played for him. “We don’t really converse much,” receiver Randy Moss said of the Patriots’ coach. “He just doesn’t seem to have a lot of time to talk. “He’s definitely a friendly person, (but) it’s always football.” How does Belichick kick back? For example, what’s his cup of cocoa in terms of TV shows and movies? “I don’t watch a lot of television,” he said. “’Planet Earth.’ ‘Gone With the Wind.’ I like ‘The Bourne Identity.’” Maybe Matt Damon will play a young Bill in “Belichick, the Movie.” Veteran Patriot Larry Izzo said, “Down the road, being able to say you played for Bill Belichick will be like saying you played for Vince Lombardi.” The Boss Loves Him Patriots Owner Robert Kraft has a hard time throwing Bill Belichick under the bus over “Spygate.” “I’m not sure all the facts are out on that,” Kraft says as the punch line to his long answer. Yet the NFL saw fit to dock New England a first-round pick. Who is Kraft to debunk a coach who has him in another Super Bowl? The owner thought back to hiring Belichick in 2000. “A lot of people thought I was making an error based on how he dealt with the media, and they sent me tapes of his experiences in Cleveland,” Kraft said. It wasn’t just that -- Belichick had only one winning year in his five Cleveland seasons. But Kraft went on: “In the end, I am into substance. I am not into lipstick.” Kraft’s most substantial argument for Belichick: “He understood value and players and how they fit under the salary cap.” To be a QB Tom Coughlin has a natural chemistry with Eli Manning in that neither wears his feelings on his sleeve. “Although Eli masks a lot of his emotions and feelings,” Coughlin said, “they’re there. He’s as competitive as anybody I’ve ever been around.” Randy Moss says his quarterback, Tom Brady, is more than competitive. “He’s not just the best quarterback I’ve ever played with,” Moss said. “He’s the best quarterback ever put into this league.” Extra Points - Veteran Giants sack artist Michael Strahan says Super Bowl craziness is nothing to a New Yorker: “This is like walking down Broadway,” he said. “Where is the naked cowboy? Is he out there strumming some guitar in tighty-whitie shorts?” - Strahan looked out over one media mob and took a jab at New York writers. “At least they let some nice people into this group.” - Giants punter Jeff Feagles can’t get the lyrics to “Won’t Back Down” out of his head. He’s a huge fan of Tom Petty, who will play Sunday’s halftime show. “I’ll be sneaking back onto the field a little early at halftime,” he said. Reach Canton Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or email@example.com.