Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

Practice has started and the Huskies picked up the first two injuries of the season yesterday. CB Byron Davenport pulled a hamstring, and WR Anthony Russo either separated, or a broke a finger. The severity of both injuries will be better known later today.

Davenport is a guy we can't afford to lose very long, but you need to be very cautious with that type of injury because it is tough to play through, and can nag a player all year. Davenport missed the Spring, and the injury is more related to shaking the rust off more than being any type of conditioning issue. The coaching staff hopes at worst that he is out a minimum of two weeks. We look solid at CB, but depth can become an issue at this position overnight with only three experienced players returning.

Donald Butler is still a little gimpy after undergoing off season surgery on his knee. the sophomore who is expected to start in the middle of the Huskies should be fine as time goes on.
After any type of surgery you have to stretch it out the scar tissue, and that inevitably leads to a some swelling in the early going.

The local writers aren't getting much of a look at the team again this season, so whatever they report on concerning practice has to come directly from the coaches. The first 25 minutes of practice is open, but that usually just features warming up.

Brief Notes

Just a brief note, I updated the links today for Ohio State, and Boise State. The Ohio State Blog is folding, and the url changed for Boise State. Our friend Zach over at UW Dish has also folded according to my friend Nestor at the UCLA blog. The editors of Sports Blog Nation tried to contact me while I was on vacation concerning joining their network. I have gotten back to them a number of times, but they haven't responded back, so maybe they found someone else to fill the void. As you can see by taking a look at Building the Dam, or the UCLA blog they have some pretty good tools to work with, and being part of a network portal is always a good deal. So if something comes of that I will let you all know.

I have been blogging about Husky Sports for over a year now, and it hasn't been that much of a chore, so I imagine as long as interest, and readership keeps building I will continue to do it in the future.

Pac Ten Alley

We are going to start off today with some news from our first opponent Syracuse. The Orange suffered a loss when their starting TE abruptly quit the team. This one hurts the Orange and you have to wonder what exactly is going through this kids head.

Tight End, and leading receiver for the Orange, Tom Ferron has quit the team. The Post-Standard has reported that Coach Robinson stated his heart just was not into playing anymore. First off, do not panic. Our wide receivers are all healthy, and the overall core is very talented. Taj Smith is healthy again and Ferron's backup, J.J. Nesheiwat, will do just fine. For analysis and a slightly more detailed report, I have updated my Syracuse preview penned earlier this summer here.

Finally some news on the Boise State Bronco's

Clearly you can see the team getting better each practice, as there’s fewer dropped balls, bad passes, fumbled handoffs, blown coverages…all that. Both of the frontrunners for the starting quarterback job threw well, but Bush Hamdan made some fantastic deep throws. One drill had the QBs all throwing deep tosses, and he was consistently the most on-target.

Ohio State is rebuilding this year, but they have better building blocks to do it with than most programs.

When an underclassman at Ohio State has a big year, friends, fans and agents start whispering NFL sweet nothings in his ear. Keep it up, they say, and you'll be a first-round draft pick. Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins has been hearing such talk since a breakout sophomore season in 2006. He was named first-team all-Big Ten after making four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and 55 tackles, fourth on the team.

UCLA is a team that contend for the BCS, but will coach Dorrell be able to put it together this season? Luckily we play the Bruins on the road so Montlake residents won't have to hire security to guard their homes from their asst coaches when the Bruins visit.

I know you all are still recovering from learning about the latest example of stupidity in Dorrell's program, but we have big news on yet another troubled Dorrell front. Lets just say the Eric Scott saga got lot more interesting. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department expects to forward its case against UCLA football assistant Eric Scott and two others to the district attorney's office this week, Det. Ulysses Cruz said Monday. Scott, who is on paid leave, was arrested with two others on July 24 on suspicion of burglary in the break-in of a Norwalk home. The case moved forward in recent days, Cruz said, after investigators finally were able to locate residents of the house.

As usual the news from USC is good as they prepare for the season.

The Trojans continued to crisp pace of early fall camp practices with another solid practice on Tuesday. Once again there were plenty of opportunities for younger players to shine and guys like Joe McKnight and Everson Griffen did not disappoint but we also saw senior quarterback John David Booty start to find his stride with some nice long pass completions.

ASU's Rudy Carpenter isn't a big fan of the House of Heat.

While this blog has been less than admirable of Carpenter's on-field performances in the last 13 months, I make it a rule of life to stay away from the baby momma drama, whether it's mine or somebody else's. Carp had plenty more to say after Saturday's practice, and the Trib's Scott Bordow offers this piece on Rudy's duality and the fun he's finally having.

All eyes are on Dennis Dixon, and Jonathan Stewart as practice starts at Oregon.

Will Dennis Dixon be prepared after his little stint playing minor league baseball? Will Jonathan Stewart stay away from the injured list with more of the offensive load on his shoulders? Will the run defense stay healthy this year after a disappointing 2006 campaign?

Arizona introduces the Spread Offense.

The biggest worry the University of Arizona football team should have had about going to a spread offense was becoming weaker on the other side of the ball. By weaker, that means just that, weaker. Teams that traditionally run the spread seem to lose physical strength and dominance. Texas Tech didn’t exactly have a juggernaut defense, nor did Kentucky in the early days of the spread and Oregon’s defense since the Ducks went to a spread has been a little more lackluster.

Stanford has to get better, right?

Stanford's football players don't need to be reminded about a 2006 season in which they won one game and finished at the bottom of nearly every statistical category in the Pacific-10.
For them, the opening of training camp today signals a fresh start. There's a new coach, a new attitude and a new season.

Oregon State is having some problems as camp opens.

Five guys are already having issues. You know about Coye Francies and Micah Strickland, but backup tailback Clinton Polk isn't at practice yet, and either is linebacker Eric Moala Liava'a. But the biggest news of camp so far is the departure of sophomore punter Kyle Loomis. He left for "personal reasons", and hasn't said much more than that since his departure. Last year he averaged 41.3 yards a kick, (he was a 60-yarder or shank kind of guy, it all evens out) and really improved towards the end of the season. Alexis will take over the duties at punter for right now. I don't know how I feel about that, but I'll get to that in a subsequent post.

If there is one team on the West coast that can beat USC this year it has to be the California Golden Bears.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford tried to temper his excitement. "This group has the potential to be the strongest and fastest we've ever had," he said Wednesday. Within 15 seconds of that comment, he couldn't hold back any longer. "I think this is the strongest and the fastest team we've ever had," Tedford said at the start of his sixth season at Cal. "There are a lot more 400-pound bench pressers than we've ever had, and we had a lot of guys in the sub-4.4 range (for the 40-yard dash)." If the summer workout numbers translate to the gridiron, Cal has the makings of a team that could outmuscle and run past competition on its way into a Bowl Championship Series berth. The Bears' players and coaches, however, know the difference between weight-room scores and on-field points can be as wide as the margin between a top-10 and a top-25 finish.

Brinkhater and Sedihawk return to inform us on the fortunes of the WSU football program.

But before anyone jumps off the ship before the season even starts, you should all know that the last time that I picked the Cougs to have a losing season was in 2001. I picked that year’s team to go 2-9. Our final record was a gaudy 10-2.

This years feel good story is in Hawaii. The Warriors goal is a BCS bowl this season.

What June Jones has accomplished in his seven years as Hawaii's coach truly is remarkable, especially considering the program was close to belly-up when he arrived. UH has gone from a school that had lost 18 straight games to one that beats BCS-conference schools regularly, and the Warriors are in prime position to earn a spot in a BCS bowl game this January.

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