Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In 1945, Hungar, a freshman running back for Washington, came off the bench and surprised everyone by slipping free for a 38-yard touchdown run with three minutes left to play at Husky Stadium to beat Washington State 6-0 in the first post-World War II meeting between the rival schools.
Hungar was an unknown, a third-team player from Lake Stevens without a scholarship, someone whose name was neither listed in the game program nor familiar to anyone covering the team.
While reporters frantically scrambled to come up with any information they could find on this instant hero, P-I sports editor Royal Brougham sat down and reflexively typed what he knew, labeling the running back the Last Minute Kid.
On Tuesday, Hungar died at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center from a sudden illness brought on by complications from asbestos exposure. He was 81. No one had to ask who he was now.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Washington, and Washington State are the only Pac Ten schools who have not received a single commitment for the 2009 class. One reason for that is it will be a comparative down year in Washington State talent and numbers wise. Another reason is WSU has a new head coach, and Washington has a coach who is about to jump out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
There are some nuggets out there in state, but expect Washington to win out in most cases even though Paul Wulff at WSU is going to make a strong early run for the available in state talent.
Here is a quick look at the top talent in Washington which will be supplying the 2009 recruiting class in no particular order.
- De'Andre Coleman DT Garfield (UW Offer)
- Desmond Trufant CB Wilson (UW Offer)
- Tony Heard LB Edmonds-Woodway (UW Offer)
- Alex Ferguson RB Kentridge
- Gino Simone WR Eastlake (UW Offer)
- Allen Mooney LB O'Dea
- Kirby Moore WR Prosser
- Travis Long TE Gonzaga
- Danny Kistler OL O'Dea
- Anthony Luna OL Gonzaga
- Marcel Sealey LB Kamiak
- Tre Watson CB Kennedy
- Nolan Washington CB Kennedy
- Lucas Schindelle QB Bellarmine
I would expect that the Huskies will offer another 4-5 in state players once the evaulation process is completed in June. UW likes to see the majority of the players at their camp before making offers.
Pac Ten Alley
Now its time to take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors have been up to.
I don't think Oregon will miss Jonathan Stewart that much in 2008. They are loaded and at least three deep at running back.
Watching LeGarrette Blount run over and around flailing Oregon defenders during spring practices -- thereby easing concerns over the departure of first-round NFL draft pick Jonathan Stewart -- it's impossible not to wonder how this elusive, 6-foot-2, 230-pound running back got away from the southern regional powers that coveted him, such as Alabama and Florida State, which were far closer to his hometown of Perry, Fla."
Paul Wulff is rebuilding the culture at WSU, but don't expect "Cow Tipping" to be a casualty.
“There's improvement, but we're not where we need to be," he said. "We still have players that don't fully understand the responsibility you have of being a college student-athlete, and that it's different than being a college student. They need to be held to a higher standard – whether they like it or not they're going to be – so they might as well accept it. There's a lot of success so far, we're just not where our culture's gonna be yet. We're working on that.”
News from the gridiron at OSU.
OSU ran 25-odd plays in a full 11 on 11 scrimmage with no restrictions on hitting (except YOU CANNOT BELT THE QB) ... then the Beavers did some red zone stuff. "There were some good parts, but nothing altogether looked very good,'' was Riley's quote about the scrimmage. ... I think he was trying to say it was nothing special.
California is trying to reclaim some attitude.
The in-house word last season was that Cal was missing Desmond Bishop and Marshawn Lynch, guys who were vocal enough to gain their teammates' attention throughout the practice week and athletic enough to demand it for Saturday game days. Though injuries stood in the way of the development of some of the sexier stories during spring, the leadership problem, which was mostly blamed for the fall from No. 2 in the nation to a 7-6 record, might have been answered.
Johnny Dawkins takes over down on the Farm.
Johnny Dawkins was officially ushered in as the new head coach of the men’s basketball team during a 4 p.m. press conference held by the athletic department yesterday. Introduced by Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby, Dawkins seemed cool throughout the conference, although he continually emphasized his excitement at the opportunity to be at the helm of the Stanford program.
The Trojans had ten players drafted this weekend.
More than a week before the NFL draft, USC quarterback John David Booty ignored convention and said on a national television broadcast that he hoped to be selected by the Minnesota Vikings. The admission was a bold break from potential draftees' usual statements about not caring whether a particular team selected them.On Sunday, Booty got his wish when the Vikings traded up in the fifth round to choose the quarterback who led the Trojans to two consecutive Pacific 10 Conference titles and Rose Bowl victories.Booty, the sixth quarterback chosen in the draft, would have preferred to be selected higher than the 137th overall pick, but the result suited him fine because he joins a Vikings team that is without a truly established starting quarterback.
UCLA wraps up the spring with Olson in command at QB.
Olson, who started the last two seasons but was Cowan's backup this spring, moves way into the forefront of a quarterback derby.However, before he gets on the field, the broken bone in his right foot must heal. He will meet with doctors Monday to decide whether or not to have surgery to implant a screw to aid in the healing. "Everybody I talked to with this type of fracture said the screw is probably the way to go, but I haven't made any decisions yet," Olson said. "I want to do the thing that is best for my body and get back as fast as I can. The screw sounds like the way to go." Olson should be back in June, which gives him plenty of time to get ready for August training camp and the Sept. 1 opener against Tennessee. But after being relegated to second-string just a third of the way through spring practice, he wasn't taking for the starting position for granted."It's not my call," Olson said. "It never has been, and never will be. All I can do is just try to keep a positive attitude and just keep working. It's not a good thing to be out six to eight weeks, but luckily it's toward the end of spring ball and I'll be back for fall camp, but it's tough because you're missing time you can be (practicing) what we learned (in spring ball)."
Most people expected a lot more out of the UA defensive ends including me. I thought the Wildcats had hit the mother lode with these two kids, but they sputtered.
University of Arizona defensive ends Jason Parker and Louis Holmes have found themselves a place in the NFL as free agents. Parker is heading to Kansas City, while Holmes has been picked up by the San Francico 49ers. "I think this is a perfect fit for me," Parker said. "I've really beenworking out hard since pro timing day, and I'm ready. I am going to a mini camp on Thursday and I'm going there to stick out and not just be one of the guys."
ASU looks like the team to beat in Omaha this year.
No. 16-ranked California played like Little Leaguers on Sunday right down to their early bailout from an 18-2 embarrassment against No. 4 Arizona State. Cal coach Dave Esquer called no mas after the top of the seventh inning at Packard Stadium, using travel curfew as an explanation for a game then at 3 hours, 22 minutes, not especially long by Pac-10 finale standards. ASU coach Pat Murphy naturally agreed to the mercy killing since his team got in extra at-bats by sending 16 to the plate in a 10-run second and 11 in a five-run fifth.
Jake Locker So
Ronnie Fouch RS
Dominique Blackman Fr
Luther Leonard Fr
Taylor Bean RS (Walk On)
Brandon Johnson So
Willie Griffin RS
Brandon Yakaboski RS
Terrance Dailey Fr
Demerius Bronson Fr
David Freeman Fr
Paul Homer Jr
Luke Kravitz Sr
Austin Sylvester RS
Tobias Togi RS (Walk On)
Michael Gottlieb Sr
Chris Izbicki RS
Romeo Savant RS
Walt Winter Sr
Kavario Middleton Fr
LT Ben Ossai Jr
LT Mark Armelin RS
LT Drew Schaeffer Fr
RT Cody Habben So
RT Skyler Fancher RS
RT Terrence Thomas Fr
LG Ryan Tolar So
LG Jordan White-Frisbee Sr
LG Scott Shugert RS
RG Casey Bulyca Sr
RG Morgan Rosborough Jr
RG Allan Carroll Fr
C Matt Sedillo So
C Greg Christine So (Walk On)
C Mykena Ikehara Fr
D'Andre Goodwin, So
Charles Hawkins, Sr
Alvin Logan RS
Anthony Boyles Fr
Devin Aguilar Fr
Jermaine Kearse Fr
Cody Bruns Fr
Jordan Polk Fr
Chris Polk Fr
Curtis Shaw So
Tony Chidiac Jr
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim Jr.
DE Kalani Aldrich RS
DE Everette Thompson Fr
DE Darrion Jones Jr
DE Tyrone Duncan RS
DE Senio Kelemente Fr
DT Cameron Elisara So
DT Nick Wood RS
DT Jovon O'Connor Sr
DT Craig Noble Fr
DT De'Shon Matthews So
DT Johnie Kirton Sr
DT Alameda Ta'amu Fr
SLB Mason Foster So
SLB Chris Stevens Sr
SLB Cort Dennison Fr
SLB Fred Wiggs Jr (Walk On)
MLB Donald Butler Jr
MLB Trenton Tuiasosopo Sr
MLB Kurt Mangum Fr
WLB E.J. Savannah Jr
WLB Matt Houston So
WLB Joshua Gage Jr
WLB Bradly Roussel Fr
CB Quinton Richardson RS
CB Vonzell McDowell So
CB Matt Mosley So
CB Marquis Persley RS
CB Justin Glenn Fr
CB Mesphin Forrester Sr
CB Byron Davenport Sr
CB Jordan Murchison Sr
CB Adam Long Fr
CB Anthony Gobern Fr
SS Victor Aiyewa So
SS Darin Harris Sr
SS Johri Fogerson Fr
SS Greg Walker Fr
FS Nate Williams, So.
FS Jason Wells Sr.
FS Tripper Johnson Jr
FS Vince Taylor Fr
PK Ryan Perkins Jr
PK Erik Folk RS
P Jared Ballman S
S Danny Morovick Jr
H Ronnie Fouch RS
Chris Polk Fr
Curtis Shaw So
Curtis Shaw So
D'Andre Goodwin So
Monday, April 28, 2008
Both teams really played vanilla because, as offensive coordinator Tim Lappano pointed out, there were Oregon scouts in the stands. Also, the running clock made for fewer offensive plays than a typical game. Willingham worked it like a typical scrimmage stretching the rules here, and there to give his team the opportunity to work on what he thought was important.
One thing I noticed which was positive was the mood of the head coach, you can tell he likes what he is starting to see out there. Ty seemed relaxed, but excitied on radio, and he wasn't monotone at all which is something we all enjoy when he departs that mode.
Kudo's to the UW athletic department for showing the live video at the website, and of course KJR for having a full blown Honks show before the game, and excellent play by play during.
From my view I thought the young receivers responded well, and Chris Izbicki made a couple nice grabs at the TE spot that we haven't seen in quite awhile.
Goodwin, Logan, and Polk are probably going to end up being the starters next year base don what I saw. Goodwin still has work to do, but he is by far the most complete player out there. Logan can catch well and lay some lumber, it is good to see a WR with size that can block well.
Polk will only get better as time goes on. He was impressive running inside at TB, and he had a good day catching the ball.
Shaw, Aguilar, and Boyles showed that they belong. Aguilar in particular made some very good grabs. I think the WR position will be just fine. Give these kids the Summer to work with Jake and it will all start coming together. Unlike the old group these kids have a high ceiling which isn't close to being touched yet. They will get better every week.
I like all three RB's including Polk who is listed at WR. Chris got some carries and is going to be very good. Johnson was a little dinged up, but he sucked it up and played most of the day. The workhouse, and one of the players of the game was Willie Griffin who had very good day out there. Nobody busted a long one, but getting positive yards on almost every carry may be more important.
I thought the defensive backs played well on Saturday. All the corners are improved, and Quinton Richardson looks like he is going to stick as a starter. Byron Davenport had a good day along with Forrester, McDowell, and Mosley. Keep an eye on Persley, he had a good day too, and you have to love his great size. McDowell is a lot bigger than he was last Fall, and I think that will really help him in 2008. I think Donatell, and Williams have solidified this unit.
It is good to see a healthy Donald Butler, he was laying some lumber along with Tuiasosopo, Foster, and Savannah. I don't have any worries about the LB's as long as they stay healthy. Butler is a completely different player when he is healthy, he is going to be a good one. EJ had a great game, and will have a great 2008 if he dedicates himself to the work out schedule.
I thought both of the ends played well. Jones, and Teo Nesheim are a very good pair. I think Jone is ready to do some good things. He played right away as a frosh LB, then he got hurt, he redshirted the next season, and played sparingly last year because of the depth, and his gimpyness. Aldrich is coming on, if he can keep adding weight he will be just fine.
Inside nobody really distinguished themselves, but they were not blown out either as they all held their own. Matthews played some inside as the Huskies experiment with using different size and speed lines situationally. I kept an eye on Johnnie Kirton, he blocked a FG, and made a few tackles, I think he has the potential to contribute some quality time with his speed. We need some size.
Noble, Ta'amu, and Kelemente are all going to get a shot next season to play early. The Huskies need the beef in the middle, and I would say that Ta'amu may be the guy who gets the call because he is your ideal NT.
The kicking game was cut back for the game to avoid injuries, but despite returning the same players from last year it wasn't a good day as the Huskies missed numerous FG attempts. Ryan Perkins doesn't have a lot left in the tank, he already announced this will be his last season. Folk is finely healthy, and we all know what to expect out of Ballman who had a great year punting the ball in 2007.
Grading It Out
QB -B - I thought Locker and Fouch both played very well. Neither had a chance to use their speed, or much of the play book, but what they did, they did well. Locker had a very high percentage of completions, and Fouch would have been right there if the receivers on his side didn't get the dropsies. Jake is still making too many mental mistakes, but you hope that continues to decrease over the Summer. Those mistakes of course are magnified when he can't run to correct it.
RB -B - All four kids did well at TB, they all get positive yards. We didn't see any big gains on the ground, but since the dimension of a running QB was removed that took away most of the mystery for the defense. Paul Homer, Luke Kravitz, and Austin Sylvester make up a great trio at FB. Willie Griffin showed me quite a bit yesterday, and obviously was the best back out there with Johnson banged up. Did you see the way Polk slashes at the line of scrimmage? Rankin had better speed than anyone despite maybe Polk, but these kids turn it up field so much better, no dancing!
WR -B - We have more potential and talent at these positions than we have had in a decade. Goodwin is ready to go, and Polk is going to add some serious dimensions to what the offense can do. As a whole they need to get better at running routes, gaining seperation, and most importantly holding on to the ball. Hawkins kept getting open, but he dropped way too many balls which means he will likely fade out of the rotation this Fall if he does not correct it.
TE - B - Was this the awakening of Chris Izbicki? He had two very nice grabs with something we haven't seen out of a TE in years, yards after the catch. I was hoping to see more of Savant. Gottleib was banged up, but we know what he can do. Walt Winter got to play a little.
OL - C+ - The pass protection was just ok, the defense got too many sacks, but how many of those sacks would have been turned around if the QB's could have run? The absence of Garcia, and Tolar is being felt. If Tolar proves he can snap the ball this summer he will likely line up at center if Garcia doesn't get his miracle. We will know at the end of May whether that miracle will happen for Juan. Sedillo did a good job filling in with a bad ankle. On a whole these guys should have done a better job against a second string undersized defensive line.
DT - C+ - Way too small up front, and not enough penetration. I think guys like Kirton, and Matthews can help during different situations, but we need a run stopper to emerge. Can't tell you what I think of Elisara because I didn't get a chance to focus on him, but I never heard his name called. Nick Wood had his name called a couple of times for jumping off side, at first glance he looked smallish which really sums up our interior at this point.
DE - A - Jones and Teo'Neshiem are going to fine out here backed up by Matthews and Aldrich. All four of these guys did well yesterday, but DL of the day was Jones who was everywhere. This kid is ready to make an impact.
LB - A -I saw solid LB play for the first time in a couple of years. A healthy Butler, and Tui, flanked by Foster, and Savannah will be one of the better units on the coast next year. Cheers to the backups who all played well. It is hard to imagine UW not going with four LB's a majority of the time next year.
CB - B - I saw some good things out of every kid in this group. Everyone is improved, and Byron Davenport most likely has locked in a starting spot if he stays healthy. Quinton Richardson will only get better, and I like the addition of Forrester who was always a safety in a CB's body. forrester does best as a nickle back. I think this group will do well against the run next year, and thank god Donatell is not a cushion guy.
S - A - These kids can hit, man they can hit. Aiyewa is a freak, and Williams gets better every snap. Wells of course will come back in the Fall and claim one of the starting spots, but the future is bright in the Husky defensive backfield.
Kicking - F - All the guys are back from last year, but they didn't have a very good day. Perkins is a kid that is hanging by a thread. It is obvious that he is having physical problems that are getting worse every day he is out there. Falk has great bloodlines and a strong leg, but the accuracy wasn't there. Ballman hasn't punted well this spring, but he had a great 2007 so you have to think he will be good to go in the Fall.
Returns - I - To prevent injuries the Huskies were not focusing on this part of the game during the scrimmage. D'Andre Goodwin, Curtis Shaw, and Chris Polk are the kids you need to keep an eye on this Fall. They want the ball in Polk's hands, so expect him to be one of the KO return guys. As for punt returns you want the kid with the surest hands, and fortunately the kid with the surest hands is one of the fastest on the team in Goodwin. The "I" stands for incomplete.
Huskies Stroke Past California
The top-ranked Washington men's varsity eight defeated California on Saturday in the annual dual regatta between West Coast rowing powers. The undefeated Huskies opened a boat-length lead midway in the race and won by open water, covering the 2,000-meter course in 5 minutes, 42.11 seconds. Cal's time was 5:48.71.
The 15th-ranked Huskies women's varsity eight suffered its third consecutive dual-regatta defeat, losing to top-ranked Cal. The Huskies had lost home dual regattas to Washington State and Oregon State after being the surprise winner at the San Diego Crew Classic.
This weeks meet shows that the Washington Men's Crew is ready to defend it's national Championship this June in the IRA. For the Women it shows how much work Bob Ernst has left to do to rebuild what was once the preeminent power in women's rowing.
Rosey Niell drew a based-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning to lift No. 7 Stanford past No. 22 Washington, 2-1, on Friday night in a Pac-10 Conference game at Boyd & Jill Smith Stadium. After the Huskies rallied in the seventh to tie it at 1-1, the game went into extra innings. Neither team threatened again until the 10th, when Stanford got two of its four hits and benefited from two walks issued by UW starter Aleah Macon.
A change in the batting order is just what Jace Williams needed. With only two hits in her previous 15 at-bats, Williams went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs on Saturday afternoon to lead No. 22 Washington past No. 21 California, 6-5.
Junior starter Jorden Merry held UCLA to two runs on four hits over eight innings, tying his career-high with nine strikeouts, as the Washington baseball team opened a three-game series with a 5-2 win over the Bruins Friday night at Husky Ballpark. Merry, a right-hander from Pasco, improved his spotless record to 6-0 on the season. Washington got a two-run homer from Troy Scott and a solo shot from Kyle Conley to account for their first three runs.
UCLA first baseman Casey Haerther went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a three-run homer and starter Charles Brewer limited the Washington baseball team to one run over six and one-third innings as the Bruins beat the Huskies, 8-1, Saturday at Husky Ballpark. A crowd of 1,743 on a sunny day watched as the Bruins (21-17 overall, 5-6 in the Pac-10) drew even in the three-game series with the UW (25-15 overall, 5-6 in the Pac-10). The Huskies won the opener, 5-2, on Friday.
The final Washington men's tennis players were eliminated from competition today on the semifinal day of the Pac-10 Championships at Libbey Park. David Chu and the doubles duo of Tobi Obenaus and Martin Kildahl both lost in the invitational draws. Chu, a junior from Vancouver, B.C., saw his three-match win streak end against fourth-seeded Wes Miller of Arizona State. Miller advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-1 win, where he will now play California's Bozhidar Katsarov. Obenaus (Waidhofen, Austria) and Kildahl (Oslo, Norway) made a strong run for a pair of freshmen making their first Ojai appearances, but the fourth-seeds fell to USC's Jack Levis and Jason McNaughton, 8-5.
The Husky women's tennis team posted a couple victories in doubles today but at the end of the evening they were ousted from the Pac-10 Championships at the Ojai Athletic Club.
Washington freshman Anya Alvarez led the Husky women's golf team on the final day of the Pac-10 Championships, shooting a 4-over 75 to finish in a tie for 14th on the individual leaderboard.
Washington men's golf will head to Fairfax, Calif., for the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, Monday, April 28, through Wednesday, April 30. The tournament, hosted by the University of California, will be held at the par-71, 6,686-yard Meadow Club. The three-day tournament includes a 72-hole format with 36 holes to be played Monday and 18-hole rounds played on Tuesday and Wednesday. Teams will consist of six players with the five low scores counting towards each 18-hole score. Both team and individual champions will be crowned at the conference tournament.
Track and Field
A career day for junior Falesha Ankton and the debut of Washington's top men's relays highlighted an impressive showing by the Husky track and field team at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field. On the final day of the two-day meet, the Huskies posted four new NCAA Regional qualifying marks, bringing their total number of qualifying marks to 25 with several weeks to go until the West Regional meet in Northridge, Calif.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
The 2008 Husky Football team will put their talents on display for the first time to the general public at 12:45 pm. If you can't make it down to the stadium, tune into GoHuskies.com for a live video stream of the game or tune into KJR-AM 950 for the radio broadcast. I think it is great because if you can't be there at least you will be able to get a Spring glimpse of what is going on out there.
It isn't going to be much of a contest, everything will be extremely dumbed down, the QB's will be in yellow shirts, and don't expect Jake to be running it. That is no problem, I want to see Jake spending his time passing the ball. I want to see how the new receivers are doing. I want to see a little Izbicki, and Savant at TE. Savant supposedly has made a move toward the rotation this Spring.
Locker hit Logan for an 18 yarder to start the game, but the Purple stalled at 3rd and two being stopped on a short run, then being stopped on 4th and short after Locker mishandled a shot gun snap. Fouch and the Gold took over and almost hit a 49 yard TD to Hawkins who dropped the ball in the endzone. The drive stalled.
Locker and the Purple hit Goodwin with a 12 yard toss on third down. We get to see some Yakaboski who picks up a nice 5 yard run by bouncing it outside. Goodwin takes an end around for a couple. Jake hits Goodwin on a fade for a 28 year fade down the sideline, then Goodwin gets hit for 15 for unsportsmanlike. the drive stalls after that.
Fouch takes over for the Gold. Walk on Charles Hawkins has been dropping some passes that would have resulted in some pretty big gains. Charles needs to rebound because this is his time to make enough of an impression to get into the rotation next Spring.
Walter Winter is getting some time at TE. Hawkins redeems himself to pick up a couple of catches to start the second. Anthony Boyles makes his first catch. Matt Mosley and Tripper Johnson are looking good on defense. the drive sputters at mid field.
Quinton Richardson intercepts Locker in the end zone near the end of the second quarter.
Fouch goes three and out.
Locker gets one more try with 40 seconds left, he goes 4 and out.
3-0 Gold at Halftime.
The Gold start our with Fouch at the helm and he is again victimized by drops, this time Boyles is the culprit, he has dropped a couple today. Fouch hits Aguilar with a very nice over the shoulder pass. You have to like the way Fouch is tossing it around today. Nick Wood picks up his second off side penalty of the day. Willie Griffin has been picking up some good yards today at TB. Persley is looking solid at CB. The drive stalls and the Gold settles for a FG. Folk hooks it and misses the 12 yard FG.
Jake hits Chris Polk for an eleven yard gain. Locker floats a beauty to Curtis Shaw for 30 yards. Polk takes a hand off at RB and picks up 4. He hits Polk again for 4. Donald Butler is looking pretty good out there, same with Mason Foster. Locker hits Polk again for 7. 4th and 5 from the 24 and they are going for it. Not a bad crowd in the stands for the game. Locker hits Izbicki for a first down at the 16. Nice first catch by the RS frosh. Johnson takes it down to the 10 for a six yard gain. Locker hits Goodwin for the TD. 5 catches so far and 71 yards for Goodwin to go along with the TE. 80 yards in 13 plays.
Purple 7 - Gold 3
Fouch starts off at the 30. Boyles makes a very nice reach back grab for 10. Griffin picks up 4, he has been steady all day. 14 carries so far for 55 yards. Griffin also has a nice set of hands as he picks up 7 on a flair pass. He hits Hawkins at the 23 for another first down.
Fouch hits Aguilar for a sensational catch in the endzone for a TD. Ronnie Fouch has been solid all day, and the kid is going to be ready next year of Jake goes down. His numbers aren't spectacular, but his WR's have dropped five so far, one was for a probable TD.
Gold 10 - Purple 7
Jake tries to get it all back on the first play but Goodwin and Polk get jammed by the safeties. Yakaboski picks up five. Kurt Mangum makes the stop in his first action as a Husky. Fouch comes into the game for the Purple, and will likely play for both teams which means this one is about in the books. Fouch hits Shaw for a completion, but it is negated by a holding call. Izbicki makes another nice catch and picks up a long 1st down with a nice run after catch. Polk picks up 4. Goodwin picks up 25 on a sideline catch. Nice run after the catch! Goodwin is looking really good. Kirton picks up a tackle as Yakaboski picks up 3. Fouch hits Polk for 9. Polk is having a very nice debut today. Johnson picks up 3, he looks a little gimpy, so he is probably down for the day. Vonzell McDowell came up and made a nice tackle for loss. The Purple try a FG, and Kirton blocks it.
Taylor Bean has taken over at QB for the Gold. Austin Sylvester is getting time at FB, he moved over from LB late last season. The Gold go nowhere, and the purple take over.
Fouch takes over from the 48. Polk is getting some time at RB, and picks up 5. On the next play he picks up another 5 for the first down. Nice slashing runner with very quick cuts. Ryan Perkins misses a 47 yard FG wide right.
Willingham comments that there were too many dropped passes, and the second unit defense gave up too many yards, but the was pleased overall because he feels the overall defense is quite a bit better. He loves his RB's, he feels all three of them not including Polk who will play bith TB, and WR are a pretty good group.
Nobody was hurt, the offense wasn't allowed to show much because the QB's were basically handcuffed all day. IF you can imagine the team with the handcuffs off you have to be pleased with the progress Locker, and Fouch have made throwing the ball. Both of these guys are mobile QB's, and when you give them that option it is a whole new ballgame.
By the way the Seahawks traded their 1st round - 25th pick to the Cowboys for the 28th pick and grab a 5th rounder, and 7th rounder. Tumwater's Jonathan Stewart went to Carolina as the 13th pick of the draft.
The Seahawks select 6'4 270lb DE Lawrence Jackson from USC which is a great pick considering that they also picked up a couple of extra draft choices by trading down with Dallas. the hawks get the player that they wanted at 25, and get the extra picks, nice move!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Nathan went on to say that the Donatell has been one step ahead of Lappano all Spring in scrimmages. He prefaced the remark with the simple fact that Ed usually knows what the offense will be throwing at him which makes the task easier. I take this as a good sign because Coach Baer was never one step ahead of anybody during his time at UW.
Speaking of Tim Lappano, he has been integrating a lot of young players into the skill positions this Spring. Depth at RB has been a concern over the last half of the Spring because of injuries, and attrition. He has a lot of depth at WR, but only Goodwin has emerged so far as a sure thing because of his overall consistency. Look for the rest of the group to continue improving over the Summer.
Nathan and I will be doing one last "Backtalk with Johnny B" column next week after the Spring game in his PI Blog before he takes his summer hiatus.
Almost every person I have spoken to who has been to a practice loves the defense, and the way Donatell interacts with his staff, and players. I take this as a very good sign as spring practice wraps up because this unit as a whole had no other direction to go but up.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote today about changes in the defensive backfield.
One of things I was really looking for this Spring was the emergence of younger players in the defensive backfield. Three second year players, Richardson, Aieywa, and Williams have made their moves and will arrive in the Fall to defend starting jobs they won over the Spring. That doesn't mean incumbent Safety, and team leader Jason Wells has been permanently bumped. Look for Jason to win one of the starting jobs this Fall if he stays healthy. It does mean we have developed some new blood, and the potential for quality depth at the position.
Byron Davenport had been penciled in as a starter at CB, but he simply hasn't gotten that much work this Spring because of nagging injuries. That opened the door for Richardson. Mesphin Forrester who is more suited to being a nickle CB has moved over from Safety and is starting right now. Look for a healthy Davenport, if there is such a thing to beat out Mesphin this Fall.
Linebacker continues to be the strength of the defense, and the Huskies have developed a lot of depth which means they can easily play 4-3, or 3-4 depending on the situation in 2008. Trenton Tuiasosopo has had his best Spring since arriving on campus, and that means the Huskies will be very strong in the middle when you consider they have Butler, and Foster also. Talking about Foster he can play inside or outside, it doesn't really matter where this kid lines up, he will be one of the top eleven kids on the field this Fall.
EJ Savannah returned midway through the Spring after running the stadium stairs for a couple weeks. If he keeps his nose clean he is assured an outside spot. Houston, Dennison, Gage, and Wiggs have all had the chance to assert themselves this Spring and be noticed when he was on the sidelines. Donatell loves to mix things up, and the flexibility and depth of this LB corp will give him a lot of flexibility.
The defensive line is still a work in progress even though some observers have been impressed with what they have seen so far. Once again the ends led by Teo Nesheim, Jones, Matthews, and Aldrich have become a solid group that randy Hart will be able to rely on. Matthews has played a little inside, but that may be just a situational move that they will use on passing downs. He doesn't have the size to play there full time.
On the inside question marks remain. Cameron Elisara is one of the hardest workers on and off the the field for the team. The question is will that translate into an upgrade at one of the tackle spot in 2008? Observers haven't seen him break through the bubble yet. At the other spot Tyrone Duncan has been the man since the first week started as he pushed aside O'Connor and Wood to claim the spot. Johnnie Kirton has been in the mix and will at least in the rotation next Fall. Johnnie has wheels, and lets hope he has a good summer learning the techniques he needs to use to be successful.
Come Fall the defensive line will get a huge influx of young talent when the recruiting class arrives. Thompson, Taamu, Kelemente, and Noble are all going to get a shot at breaking into the rotation from the get go.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Juan Garcia, the leader of UW's offensive line having started the last 25 games at center, said Tuesday there's a chance his college career is over after he was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury, a complex mid-foot sprain, in his left foot.
I think you all remember that this same type of injury knocked Isaiah Stanback out of competition for almost an entire year, so it doesn't look good for Juan to return in 2008 even though his goal will be mid season.
Every injury of course is different, just like any individual, but these type of injuries are tougher to rehab then an ACL tear. As far as future NFL prospects he still will have a decent shot in the next draft since he should be fully recovered by next years draft combine.
Hasty Suspended Again
UW coach Tyrone Willingham announced before practice that running back J.R. Hasty has been officially suspended and is unlikely to return before spring ball. He said he is weighing whether Hasty will be allowed to return, though he wouldn't go into specifics or entertain questions.
Willingham wanted more time to evaluate whether he had made the right decision in allowing him back, Hasty said.
Now what exactly does that mean?
Nathan will be wrapping things up until August after the spring game so catch him while you can.
If you go to the spring game, you won't recognize this defense. It's completely different than last year and that's - obviously - a good thing. Donatell has done a nice job in the short term and it would appear that he was an excellent hire. Just the fact that you get different types of plays/looks on each down - as simple as that might seem - is fun to watch.
Pac Ten Alley
Let's take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.
There are plenty of insiders who expect Oregon to roll over UW in the opener, but until they get the QB position figured out that will be far from being guaranteed.
On a cold and blustery Friday the defense turned the tables on the offense. Last week it was just the opposite. Besides limiting the passing game to an average of less than two yards per attempt, the defense put the clamps on the running game for lost yardage on 20 of its 48 attemptsThe quarterbacks were a combined 7-of-29 for 45 yards with Cade Cooper as the lone bright spot at quarterback. He had a touchdown drive and went 5-of-8 for 29 yards, and ran nine times for 12 yards. LeGarrette Blount, who had a hay day last week, managed minus 4 yards on his first seven carries. Granted, that was with the 3rd string offensive unit. He did much better on a late drive with the first unit when he went 53 yards on 4 carries, including a 21-yard touchdown run. The Ducks have three more full spring workouts before next Saturday’s Spring Game at 2 p.m. in Autzen Stadium.
The basketball coaching search begins at Stanford, don't expect Mark Few to interview.
Heard from a variety of sources Monday: Finally, there’s news on the Stanford search.
It’s not big news, and it’s not all hard news. Some of it is pseudo-news. But as Bob Bowlsby moves through this hiring process, now two weeks old, the fog is beginning to lift.
Current assistant Doug Oliver interviewed with the search committee Monday afternoon, according to a reliable source.
Not much going on at Arizona now that spring practice has concluded.
Former UA basketball star Andre Iguodala, who has led the Philadelphia 76ers to the playoffs, tells Sports Illustrated he had "no regrets" in leaving the Wildcats for the NBA in 2004 after his sophomore year.
Cal's Spring practices are past the midway point.
Cameron Jordan is on a roll. Literally. Cal's 6-foot-4, 286-pound defensive end is down on the rubberized fake grass of Memorial Stadium, rolling from one goal line to the other. Practice -- the 10th of 15 Cal will conduct this spring -- is over. An autumn-like chill is in the Friday evening air. The weekend awaits, smelling of promise. But Jordan continues his long, strange trip. Roll on, you Bear. He's at the 50... the 40... he could roll all the way. In fact, that's the purpose of this little team-building pseudo-punitive exercise, typically assigned to a player for some minor violation of a little-known -- perhaps even nonexistent -- team rule. A small gaggle of Jordan's linemates shepherd him down the field, heckling him, cheering him, reorienting him when he veers off course.
It is all baseball all the time at the Beaver blog!
Sometimes it's about quality over quantity, and that's the reason Lonnie Lechelt is this week's BTD player of the week. Against Arizona State on Friday, Lonnie came into the game late as a defensive replacement. In his only at-bat, he hit a triple down the left field line to drive in two runs and set the Beavers up for a ninth inning comeback against then No. 2 Arizona State.
He went 1-for-4 with a 3-run homer on Saturday in Oregon State's rout of the Sun Devils, and was back at it again Sunday with a 3-for-5 performance. He doubled in that game, giving him a double, triple, and homer in the series. Lonnie is hitting .326 on the year with two home runs and is 14 for 44 at the plate. He hasn't been getting as much playing time at third base as last year due to Drew George's performances at the plate. But with second base still somewhat up in the air, it looks like Lonnie will get a chance to play there when his bat is hot.
Updates from USC on Spring practice.
Matt Meyer was one of USC's top recruits and driven enough to graduate early and enroll for the spring semester. But during the first part of spring practice, he was described as a ``fish out of water,'' by those inside the program. But slowly, he began to demonstrate a grasp of what was going on. Whether that means he could play next season is debatable. But at least he has a head start on the other freshman linemen who arrive in the summer.
Spring practice is over at ASU.
Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter said he was in agreement with coaches and doctors that waiting until after spring practice to have surgery on his injured throwing thumb was best.
"The doctors said I wouldn't hurt it any more and it's only a four-week recovery," Carpenter said Tuesday. The senior will undergo surgery to repair scar tissue Wednesday. "That's plenty of time to have the surgery, rehab, be recovered and not miss anything in spring ball. It worked out best for everybody. "I talked to coach (Dennis) Erickson and said I wanted to go through spring practice. The doctors told me I could do as much as pain would permit. Back-to-back practices were a little harder for me. The thumb was tender and sore and got a little inflamed so it was hard to hold the ball and painful."
Cowan and Olson are pretty fragile so UCLA better build up some quality depth behind them if they don't want a replay of 2007.
Both Cowan and Coach Rick Neuheisel downplayed the injury and team officials said an MRI came back negative. Still, it was a reminder how fragile the Bruins were at quarterback last season, when they lost Cowan and Ben Olson to injuries for extended periods of time. Cowan suited up and Neuheisel was confident he would return Thursday, when the Bruins practice again. "All I know is there was very little swelling in the morning, so hopefully it is going to be inconsequential," Neuheisel said. "He was out there at practice and he could have gone, but we wanted to give him today. We'll see how he is on Thursday."
Spring practice at WSU has been over for a couple of weeks, but there still is some great news, and general opinion being spewed by the guys at the WSU blog.
A sad story might be taking a turn for the better about Glenn Johnson, the voice of your Cougars. He was hospitalized on Sunday with stroke-like symptoms and very little was known. Now, however, the news is heading in the right direction. He's now doing much better per his wife, and the diagnosis sounds as though it was merely a severe blood-pressure spike with some short-term memory loss.
Monday, April 21, 2008
If Juan is out the starting job at center likely goes to backup Matt Sedillo, but UW could also take a long look at shuffling one of the other guards such as Ryan Tolar over to the position in the Fall. UW has a lot of depth on the offensive line, but potentially losing your top lineman, and top senior on the roster is disconcerting.
In a perfect world Juan would be working out for NFL scouts right now in anticipation of the 2008 draft, but he decided to come back for a sixth year to help boost his draft ranking because there were quite a few good centers coming out this year. In hindsight staying was probably still the right decision for him because he really needed another year of competition because of previous injuries.
There should be official word on Juan's injury next time the media meets with Willingham. Lets all hope he will be able to play this Fall.
The Huskies are down to only two healthy running backs this week. Willie Griffin, and JR Hasty are getting all the reps with Brandon Yakaboski, and Brandon Johnson sitting out with minor injuries after being tweaked last week. Look for Chris Polk, and curtis Shaw to get some extra work at running back to help fill the void. Both those guys are scheduled to play a lot of slot this season in addition to receiver, but having some experience at tailback is a good thing. Both Yakaboski and Johnson are day to day and could be back later in the week.
One of the bright spots this Spring has been the attitude that Ed Donatell has brought to the defense. The talent is the same of course, but the style of play has changed dramatically. Hard to tell exactly how they will line up this Fall since when the media is invited they keep it strictly 4-3. Look for a lot of change ups come game day next season as Donatell disguises the Husky defense to fool the opposition. Washington fooled nobody the last couple of years under Coach Baer, so Husky fans will really like what they see this Fall from Donatell.
As I said earlier this month, the linebacker, safety, and defensive end positions should be improved by next Fall. Question marks are still out there in the interior defensive line, and at cornerback.
Talking about cornerback the kid who has had the best Spring so far is Matt Mosley which is no surprise to me because he comes from one of the greatest traditional bloodlines in Husky history, the Carr family. That is right, he is a direct descendant of Luther, Gary, and David Carr who were husky stars in the 50's, and 60's. His mom was a track star at UW, and his uncle was a player, and assistant coach.
On the interior defensive line Tyrone Duncan has emerged as a potential starter to flank Cameron Elisara who will also start for the first time next Fall. Johnnie Kirton and Deshon Matthews are also in the mix getting plenty of time this Spring.
They say Jake is throwing the ball better this Spring, but he still hasn't reached the point where the game has slowed down for him, once it does you will see a Heisman Trophy candidate. The weather has been terrible this Spring which has made it difficult on the young receivers, and their QB.
For any athlete, once the game slows down, they start seeing everything out on the field in slow motion. Unless you have experienced this as an athlete it is very hard to explain it to a sports fan. It is that advanced perception which allows a star athlete to see the field completely and make the decisions that win football games.
Last year the game was being played at real time, or even quicker in Jake's mind which is very common for any kid getting his first shot at starting. When the pressure comes so do the mistakes.
One way to slow things down for him is to limit what you do out of the playbook. For Oregon's Dennis Dixon it was a recipe for success in 2008. Think about it, the Ducks didn't run too many different types of plays, they kept it simple, and they kept doing it till you figured out a way to stop it. It took 4-5 years for things to slow down for Dixon.
Year of the Flea
You love it when young kids make their move, and D'Andre Goodwin has made his this Spring and will be the #1 receiver and kick returner in the Fall. Goodwin's two years of preparation have put him a couple of notches above the rest of the receivers on he team this Spring. Expect very big numbers out of this kid next Fall. What excites me the most is he will be one the leagues most exciting punt return men next year which is a facet of the Husky game which has faded over the last five years.
California's David Cooper hit a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in Mark Canha with the winning run a the eighth-ranked Bears beat the Washington baseball team, 5-4, Sunday at Evans Diamond. The win gave the Golden Bears a 2-1 win in the weekend series and improved their record to 26-10-2 overall and 7-5 in Pac-10 play. The Huskies fell to 24-14 overall and 4-5 in the conference.
Walter Harrison Passes
To generations of Husky football fans, Walter Harrison is remembered as the 1942 University of Washington athlete of the year, a second-team All-American and an All-Coast team center.
He was celebrated in newspaper headlines and cheered at a home football game when he was a 1999 inductee into the Husky Hall of Fame.
Husky Women's Basketball Team Battling Major Attrition
The number of players who have left the Washington women's basketball team since just before the start of last season has grown to five.
When Kali Bennett, a 6-foot-5 freshman center from Ventura, Calif., told coach Tia Jackson last week that she was leaving, it meant four members of what had been a highly touted, six-player recruiting class would not return for their sophomore seasons. Also, it was learned over the weekend that Dominique Banks, a three-year letter-winning guard who redshirted last season, will not return for her senior year. Banks is scheduled to graduate in June.
Guard Candice Nichols of Carson, Calif., left after appearing in two exhibition games before the start of the 2007-08 season. Center/forward Jess McCormack of New Zealand -- considered the cornerstone of the recruiting class -- departed with four games to play after telling Jackson she was going to quit at the end of the season. Guard Katelan Redmon of Spokane -- the team's leading scorer -- announced her departure shortly after the season.
Washington crews won eight of nine races Saturday, including a victory by the top-ranked men's varsity eight over No. 15 Oregon State in a dual regatta on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies handily won all four men's races, topped by a convincing decision in the featured race. The UW varsity eight was competing in Seattle for the first time since winning the national championship last spring. The Huskies' homecoming was happy as they steadily pulled away from the Beavers to win by several lengths.
The top women's crews battled the length of the course. They were virtually even through 1,500 meters before the Beavers took a sprint that helped them edge the eighth-ranked Huskies by two seats. Oregon State finished in 6:38.3 and UW was second in 6:39.9.
Senior Zach Bixler and sophomore Nick Taylor each carded final round scores of even-par 70 to pace the Washington men's golf team on the last day of the U.S. Intercollegiate at Stanford Golf Course, Sunday, as the Huskies finished the tournament in 11th place at 50-over 890.
Senior Andy Kuharszky went out with a win in his final home match, helping the 32nd-ranked Husky men's tennis team to a 7-0 sweep of Oregon at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.
Two UCLA pitchers combined to hold No. 22 Washington to just two hits as the fifth-ranked Bruins picked up a 4-0 win in a Pac-10 Conference game on Saturday at Husky Softball Stadium. UCLA improved to 38-5 and 10-2 in the Pac-10, while the Huskies fell to 25-16-1 and 4-7 in conference play.
Husky Football Experience
The Husky Football Experience, sponsored by Husky Football and the Tyee Sports Council is a free clinic for boys and girls age 12 and under. Young Husky fans learn football skills and drills from the current squad and coaches. Sign up here!
4th Annual UW Alumni Association Pancake Breakfast
April 26, 10:30am-12:45pm
Husky Stadium, East End Zone
In the spirit of Washington Warm Ups, the UW Alumni Association is partnering with the Big W Club to bring you a pre-spring game party! Come see some of your favorite UW athletes flip fancy flapjacks and socialize with fellow alums, fans and Big W legends as we celebrate Washington Weekend and the official arrival of Spring with the Athletic Department's Spring Fling. Fill yourself with breakfast goodies, juice and coffee and then kick back, bask in the sun and share in the excitement of the Spring football game. The atmosphere will be as sweet as maple syrup!
When: April 26 (10:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)Where: Husky Stadium East EndzoneCost: $8-Alumni Association Members$10 Non-members
More Details: For more information, click here.
Husky Football Season Ticket Open House 11am-12:30pm
Dempsey IndoorInterested in purchasing Husky football season tickets but want to see first hand where the seats are located? Find out where the best new season tickets are located on Saturday, April 26 at 11am at the Husky Football Season Ticket Open House. The event will start at 11am in the Dempsey Indoor Facility and be followed by the annual spring game at 12:45pm. Guests will learn about all the Husky football season ticket options, including the benefits, and have the opportunity to check out the available seating areas first hand.
To reserve your spot, please email or call the Husky Marketing office at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-221-7957 by Wednesday, April 23.
Volleyball Scrimmage - 11:30 am
Women's Soccer Alumni Game - 12 pm
Football Spring Game - 12:45 pm
Baseball vs. UCLA - 2 pm
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Rick is now faced with one of those early moments of truth that are going to go a long way in defining his tenure at UCLA. I think it is going to be interesting how he handles it. If he comes down hard on the team, and the senior instigators, it means he has learned from the past. If he chooses to ignore it, buries it, and moves on it means that once again he is on the road to running a program that does not have a lot of discipline.
UCLA has the reputation of being soft, so does Rick, so it will be interesting to see if he puts his foot down to begin turning things around.
The "over the wall" tradition dates back about 30 years, and was practiced when Neuheisel was a UCLA quarterback. The tradition was suspended when Bob Toledo was coach but restored by Karl Dorrell.
Asked how he dealt with the "over the wall" day, former UCLA coach Terry Donahue said, "not very well." Donahue said he believed the tradition began before his team's playing Oregon State in Japan at the end of the 1980 season and then carried over to spring practice.
"During bowl season it had merit," Donahue said. "In spring, you wanted to work on particular things or maybe you had a couple of important guests who were looking at you like, 'What kind of place are you running?' But for the most part it was harmless."Donahue's empathy for Neuheisel goes only so far.
"When he was a junior and senior, he was the one instigating it," Donahue said. "I guess what goes around comes around."
The Daily Bruin took this view:
I understand tradition. I like tradition.
If tradition were a girl, I would go through an extremely long courtship until I was sure of our love, and then I would propose marriage to tradition and hope against hope that tradition said “yes.”
However, some traditions are stupid. (Who said I would be marrying tradition for its intelligence?)
Case in point: Yesterday, the UCLA football team decided to ditch practice.
Bruins Nation had this to say:
I don’t think anyone here would complain if those seniors pulled that kind of stunt if they were coming off a victory again against Southern Cal and have shown a track record of winning/contending for championships like their peers in pretty much all other athletics programs at UCLA (except for women’s hoops).
But this group of seniors haven’t done much to distinguish themselves at UCLA (notwithstanding that 13-9 aberration). So they need to think through in the coming days and decide what they need to leave on a proud note, playing their part in restoring the football tradition of winning Pac-10s and Rose Bowls that we have respect for (and hope will be restored in the coming years) here on Bruins Nation.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Interesting story out of UCLA today as the entire team walked out of practice led by the seniors. From what I read this is a Spring tradition at UCLA that predates Neuheisel's tenure as a player. Still with only 15 practices allowed inthe Spring these days it is a huge waste. It will be interesting to see how the "New Rick" handles this one.
With a new offense going in and questions at just about every position on the field, the Bruins ditched out of practice Tuesday in a spring tradition that Coach Rick Neuheisel participated in as a player but at this point would rather not deal with.
After the players ran off, the Bruins coach went over to a group of game officials that were brought in to work the practice and told them, “they quit on us.''
The tradition is to go over the wall at Spaulding Field, but this time the Bruins just ran out through an open gate. In the past few years there have been players to try to scale the brick wall that surrounds the practice facility but lacking the requisite strength, failed. Much simpler this time, and the players made a clean getaway. Neuheisel went into the locker room after them, but said later he just wanted to make sure they were all together on the decision and not to try to talk the team into returning to do some actual work on the practice field.
The Huskies had another open scrimmage on Saturday and as I reported on Monday the defense was the story of the day. One thing I am encouraged about is that Williams, and Aiyewa are making their move at Safety and should be the starting duo heading into Fall drills. Wells of course will be back, and is on track to reclaim his starting position, but it is good news that the two young guys will be in the rotation. Harris, and Forrester will be there too, but the seniors are going to lose playing time as the year goes on because the sophomore duo are the future of the safety position.
I wish I could say the same thing at cornerback. We need to really improve that position between now and Fall. If the Oregon game was tomorrow Mosley, and Davenport would be the starters. Richardson is a guy I can see getting a lot of time on obvious running downs during the season as he works on his coverage skills.
Linebacker looks fine, we will be improved over last year. EJ Savannah coming back this week is good news. Kurt Mangum is having a nice Spring, and it should help him get early playing time next Fall. Hopefully EJ can keep his nose clean between now and Fall. I also think we will be fine at defensive end, but the interior really scares me.
We added a new feature this week called Fandome. If you click the link it will give you video highlights of Washington athletics.
Pac Ten Alley
Let's take our weekly walk down the coast and see what the neighbors are up to.
It looks like Oregon has found a power running back to ease the loss of Jonathan Stewart.
Blount didn't disappoint, running for a team-high 68 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Blount had four runs of 10 yards or more and rarely was tackled by the first defender who touched him. Blount said his high school experience as a linebacker and defensive back likely attributes to his forceful nature as a running back.
BYU wrapped up practice for the Spring and the Cougars just might be a pretty formidable opponent next Fall.
This is what we said was worth watching during BYU spring football. How did these story lines and players to watch turn out?
Oklahoma also wrapped up Spring drills on Saturday.
The Red/White Game usually serves as the end of Oklahoma’s spring practices or drills and everything turns toward the upcoming season. At times, it’s also been a coming out party for players who are ready to seize the spotlight.
Oregon State is trying to fill some holes on defense this Spring.
When Oregon State coach Mike Riley is asked about the most pressing issue facing his football team going into spring practice, he immediately thinks about a defense that lost eight starters.
"We've got holes to fill," Riley said. "Big-time holes to fill."
Stanford has a three man race for QB this Spring.
What looked like a two-man race entering camp (Tavita Pritchard and Jason Forcier) actually turned into a three-man race (Pritchard, Forcier and Alex Loukas). Pritchard is the only contender with game experience (in a Stanford uniform), but he never will be an elite quarterback at the Pac-10 level. The mere fact that he’s not the clear-cut No. 1, with his advantage in experience, speaks volumes.
California also has an open competition at the QB this Spring.
The most indelible image from a quarterback in Cal's first scrimmage of the spring came Saturday from a fourth-stringer who wasn't even playing quarterback. Cory Smits, a junior walk-on who was acting as a scout-team gunner, sprinted about 50 yards, fended off a blocker and tackled returner Nyan Boateng as he fielded a punt. "He may have just won himself a spot on the travel squad," coach Jeff Tedford said. "I'm just kidding. Don't write that." That isn't much insight into the quarterback competition, and that's because there isn't any. As Tedford hinted at before spring drills, the job probably isn't going to be won in the spring, and, now, it's even less likely.
Not a lot of people showed up for the Arizona spring game.
The University of Arizona football team has had great attendance figures over the past several years, but that is about to change. At least the numbers should look completely different if the turn out for the Wildcats Spring game on Saturday at Arizona Stadium is any indication.
They were awful.
Notre Dame is trying to bounce back in 2008, and Irish eyes are on Charlie Weis.
The surgeries are done, the quarterback is set and there are fewer holes to replace than last season. Yet while Notre Dame’s spring practice in 2007 had the intrigue of a quarterback competition and the anticipation of replacing a group that went to two BCS bowl games, this spring might be the most critical of Charlie Weis’ tenure in South Bend.
Washington State wrapped up its first Spring under Paul Wulff.
Somebody had to catch those passes and on this day, the guy who stood out was Michael Willis. Without hesitation, I would say that Willis was the star of the day. After all his injuries and the move from safety to wide receiver, I would not have been surprised if we never actually heard from this guy - but he was incredible today. Gibson didn't play much (when he did, he was money), and Blackledge didn't make much noise, so it was Willis' day and he made the most of it. He caught a beautiful 40-yard seam between a corner and a safety for the biggest play of that 2-minute drill and then capped off the drive with a nice catch for a TD on a ball that was thrown a bit behind him. Proving that there was a reason he started out as a safety, he also laid some hat, with a crushing block on a nice run around the left side. If Willis can stay healthy, look for big things out of him this fall.
Pat Cowan looks like he has won the starting job at UCLA. Funny thing is RN, and Gilby passed up recruiting Pat when he was at UW.
One-third of the way through spring practice and UCLA already has its No. 1 quarterback. Coach Rick Neuheisel on Saturday acknowledged the choice was Patrick Cowan.
Sanchez and Mustain are struggling this Spring at USC. The Trojans still will be the team to beat in 2008, but they will be beatable.
The way USC's top quarterbacks played in Saturday's scrimmage, no one deserves to replace John David Booty. But no progress preserves the status quo, which is good news for Mark Sanchez, the coaches' choice to be the starter. Sanchez did not stand out during the 78-play scrimmage, but neither did his competition, Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain. Sanchez completed nine of 17 passes for 97 yards with an interception; Mustain completed nine of 18 passes for 112 yards with a touchdown and interception.
The hitting has been intensified the Spring at ASU. The team is starting to take on that Erickson swagger.
The best news out of Arizona State's second major football scrimmage Saturday was that wide receiver Chris McGaha and cornerback Omar Bolden walked away from easily the scariest moment of spring practice. The two starters became entangled after McGaha's 15-yard reception on a fourth-and-1 rollout pass by quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Both were sprawled in pain along the sideline at Sun Devil Stadium for several minutes before leaving the field without assistance, their day done.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald ... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a 10,000-foot crevice, right at the base of this glacier. And do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga ... gunga – gunga lagunga. So we finish the 18th and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
60,000 fans showed up for Florida's Spring Game. How about that? I can remember days close to that in Husky Stadium when the Alumni game was played an players like Ben Davidson, and Bob Schloredt arrived by ambulance. Those were the days.
The Husky defense looked improved in Saturday's scrimmage. Not sure if the talent or proficiency level is quite there, but Ed Donatell is getting his kids motivated, and disguising things in a better fashion according to observers. Last season that could have resulted in enough extra wins for the Huskies to have gone to a bowl game. The Huskies still need to grow in the interior defensive line, and the cornerback position still needs a lot of help, or growth.
Offensively Brandon Johnson is obviously the man at TB in 2008, but he will get some assistance from his bruising FB Paul Homer, and the change up of running Polk/Shaw from the slot. Things still haven't slowed down enough for Jake Locker yet to move to the next level as a passer. He is steadily improving, but he hasn't made the quantum leap yet as an accurate passer. There is still plenty of time for that to happen over the Summer.
D'Andre Goodwin has lifted his game to the next level now that he is the old man at WR. Look for the "Flea" to lead the team in many ways next season as a returner, and pass catcher.
No change on the status of JR Hasty, and EJ Savannah, both are becoming very proficient at running stairs.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
According to the papers Hasty, and Savannah are still running stairs, but my intuition tells me that Willingham will let them back on the field any day now. The coaches are getting interviewed by the press and the latest to talk is new TE/ST coach Brian White. White says they have enough talent, it is more of a want succeed type of thing he needs to develop. As we said last week Goodwin should be the punt return guy this Fall. An educated on kickoff return guys is that Shaw, Goodwin, and Polk should be the guys back there based on speed, and hands.
The Huskies have eleven more practices including the Spring game.
Pac Ten Alley
Lets take a walk down the coast and see what the neighbors are up to.
Spring Camp has wrapped up over at WSU
Alfonso Jackson and Chima Nwachukwu switched positions early in camp, and things have gone so well according to coach Ball that it will stay this way into the '08 season.
Tony Bennett isn't going anywhere which is good news for WSU fans. He reportedly turned down Marquette, LSU, California, and Indiana. It makes you wonder what his ideal job is at this point?
Tony Bennett said Tuesday he will remain the basketball coach at Washington State University, where he is the first coach to take the Cougars to two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
UCLA will be rebuilding next years basketball team because the majority of the top players on the team are leaving. It will be a whole new league next season, and Washington which was down the last two years should be one of the top teams in the league.
I am not going go through the roller coaster of up or down re. Whether DC, RW or KL will stay or go. I don’t have any inside sources ala Dohn, Pucin or any other beat reporters. I don’t talk to the coaches or players.However, given what I have read to date and based on my two decades of following UCLA (and the world of college hoops on a day to day basis) I believe we have seen the last of DC, RW, and KL at UCLA. I believe they are gone and it will be nothing short of an absolute miracle if any one of them decides to come back for another season at UCLA
Picking a QB at UCLA
It's only been five days. Kevin Craft is still learning his way around campus. Patrick Cowan and Ben Olson are still shaking the off-season rust off. Chris Forcier and Osaar Rasshan are trying to make an impression with just a handful of reps each day. But UCLA's five-man quarterback competition could fast be coming to a close. After Tuesday's practice, coach Rick Neuheisel and new offensive coordinator Norm Chow said they will start thinning the competition out a bit, and one or two players could be out of the competition as soon as Thursday. "We've got 10 more practices, then fall camp, and 29 practices after that, we've got Tennessee so we need to do something and I think everybody realizes the urgency of it,'' Chow said
The Stanford women were dominant in the finals.
Watching Stanford dismantle U-Conn yesterday, I had the same feeling I did watching Memphis pound UCLA on Saturday. That’s not to say the teams, players and coaches are even close to identical — especially the coaches. (Tara VanDerveer is always pleasant, modest, respectful …)
But the Cardinal women and Tiger men share a few things in common, starting with “it.”
It looks Like Mike Montgomery couldn't resist and is rumored to be the next head coach at Cal.
QB competition at USC
For two weeks I resisted the constant temptation to say the quarterback competition was a charade although anyone who reads this blog probably figured out what direction the ``derby'' was taking. But it seems foolish to act like anything is up for grabs right now as Mark Sanchez clearly is the No. 1 quarterback.Here's some facts for those following this race:Sanchez got six series with the first team during Sunday's scrimmage. Mitch Mustain got two.Sanchez practiced exclusively with the first team Tuesday. Mustain split time with Aaron Corp with the second team.Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said he did not anticipate giving Mustain more time with the first team during USC's next scrimmage on Saturday.We will wait for the official word from Pete Carroll, of course. When (not who) he announces the starter is the only mystery left right now.
Examining the fall at Cal
You could say Cal has hit the skids since it rushed to 5-0 and a No. 2 ranking last October. What does California football need to focus on this spring? "Everything," seventh-year Coach Jeff Tedford said.
Looking back at OSU
I think that there are some in Beaver fandom who remember the impact that Dennis Erickson had on the OSU football team--and forget the years immediately preceding. They remember DE getting the Beavs their first winning season in forever in Year 1, and an 11-win season (and I think we would have given Oklahoma a better fight than FSU had we made it to the Orange Bowl). There is an assumption that what worked for football, would work for basketball.
University of Arizona receivers are catching on.
The Wildcats wide outs caught virtually everything within their grasp, a week after being told they were not doing their jobs well enough during scrimmage work on Saturday.
Terrell Reese caught five passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, Delashaun Dean had five catches for 147 yards and a touchdown, Terrell Turner caught five balls for 66 yards, Derick Barkum had two receptions for 70 yards at the Wildcats’ scrimmage on Saturday.
ASU has their first scrimmage of the Spring
Getting beyond 16 penalties, half for false starts on the offense, takes a little doing. But Arizona State did have some unflagged moments to remember Saturday in its first spring football scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium. The No. 1 offense scored on its second possession and added another touchdown later. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter threw 14-yard scoring passes on both, the first on a rollout to tight end Dane Guthrie and the second to wide receiver Chris McGaha.
Spring practice in full swing in Eugene.
The three guys who got banged up Friday sat out today. Fenuki Tupou aggravated a hamstring injury, Bo Thran tweaked his knee and Will Tukuafu hurt his ankle. From the sound of it, Tupou’s has the potential to linger the longest. C.E. Kaiser continued to play left tackle with the first string, while Jordan Holmes was the No. 1 left guard for most of the day. Jeff Kendall was in that spot for the final drills of the day. Dominic Glover was in Tukuafu’s starting end spot late in the day.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Tyrone Duncan moved ahead of Jovan O'Connor which is really no surprise, but if O'Connor had been able top hold on to the starting job for more than a week that would have been the biggest surprise of camp. O'Connor didn't play much at the scrimmage which means the 5th year senior hasn't been able to hold off the competition during the first week of practice. Cameron Elisara, and Darrion Jones are holding down the other two spots open for competition. Johnnie Kirtson is getting plenty of repos which means the Huskies are very serious about getting him on the field as a DL next Fall.
Players who were working as punt returners were Goodwin, Boyles, McDowell, Aguilar and Matt Mosley. Nathan thinks that Goodwin is a lock to be the man returning punts in the Fall. Most of us were hoping the Flea would get a shot at it last year.
Talking about D'Andre Goodwin....the two years of work learning the game at the Pac Ten level seems to have paid off because the people I have talked to who have been to practice feel he is probably going to be next years go to guy. It is still early, and all the young receivers have had their moments so far.
Most people figured that CB Vonzell McDowell's confidence may have been shot last year after starting in the frying pan and jumping into the fire to start the season. He had two interceptions on Saturday and is making asolid move for the starting job opposite Davenport this Spring. The key of course is experience. Once the game begins to slow down, and the experience kicks in they young guys make quantum leaps.
Brandon Johnson is pretty much a lock to be the starting TB next year, nothing he has done this Spring so far has altered that thinking. Chris Polk, and Curtis Shaw will get carries also as they share more of a hybrid slot/rb position which the Huskies hope to mold in the image of former Trojan Reggie Bush.
The offense is ahead of the defense right now, and that is to be expected with the a starting QB, exceptional, young, skill position talent, and a deep, veteran offensive line returning.
EJ, and JR are still running stairs. I would think that maybe on Tuesday we could see a change in their status, just a guess on that one.
Dorothy Harshman passes away
The wife of retired Husky basketball coach Marv Harshman passed away this weekend after suffering through health problems this past year. She was 86, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Marv, and his family.
Bobby Jones is seeing America First
The former Husky made NBA history this week by playing for the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, his record fifth team this season. He also logged stints in Denver, Memphis, Houston and Miami earlier.
Husky Crew Pounds Out Victories in San Diego
San Diego used to be an annual stop for the nations top Crew programs, but for some reason the big boys have passed the Copley Cup over the past four years. This year was an exception was the top crews in the country including Washington, California, and Harvard took in the annual Spring event on Mission Bay.
Washington celebrated its return Sunday to the San Diego Crew Classic after a three-year absence by winning the feature races for both the men's and women's collegiate rowers.
Overall, four of the Huskies' six entries were victorious. The Huskies men won the Copley Cup for the 14th time (first time since 1998) by nearly two seconds. The women rebounded from an off showing in qualifying to take the Jessop-Whittier Cup for the 17th time — the first time since 2002.
More than 3,400 rowers from 100 colleges and clubs competed over a 2,000-meter course on Mission Bay in the 35th annual event regarded as the first major regatta of the year.
Big win for Bob Ernst in his first big competion back as head of the Womens team, but they won't see the best in the country till the championships in June. The men on the other hand cemeted themselves as the team to beat for the national championship despite the one year attrition of talent that is headed to work with national teams.
Copley Cup Men's Varsity Eight
1. Washington, 5:39.90
2. Princeton, 5:41.80
3. Harvard, 5:43.89
4. California, 5:44.15;
5. Northeastern, 5:44.18
6. Stanford, 5:44.38;
7. Yale, 5:47.37.
Jessop-Whittier Cup Women's Varsity Eight
1. Washington, 6:22.9
2. USC, 6:23.80;
3. Washington State, 6:26.10
4. Stanford, 6:29.27
5. UCLA, 6:29.38
6. Wisconsin, 6:32.24
Baseball team takes it to Arizona
Starting pitcher Jorden Merry allowed just one run over seven and one-third innings to lead the Washington baseball team to a 5-1 win over No. 18 Arizona Sunday at Husky Ballpark as the Huskies prevailed in a tightly-contested three-game series, two wins to one.
Seventh-ranked Stanford earned a split in a two-game series with No. 25 Washington after a 3-1 win on Sunday afternoon at Husky Softball Stadium.
Patrick Fischer and Andy Kuharszky provided wins in singles but that was all the scoring for the 23rd-ranked Washington men's tennis team, as they dropped a 5-2 road decision to No. 22 Arizona State.
Freshman Venise Chan sent the Nordstrom Tennis Center crowd into elation today, prevailing in a gut-wrenching third set tiebreak at No. 1 singles to send the 49th-ranked Washington women's tennis team to a 4-3 upset of 12th-ranked Arizona State. The Huskies (12-8, 2-5 Pac-10) celebrated senior day with their first win over a Top-25 opponent in three years, and senior Tara Simpson contributed with wins in both singles and doubles.
Washington women's golf shot a final round score of 24-over 312 to finish 13th at the PING/ASU Invitational which came to a close at Arizona State's Karsten Golf Course, Sunday. Washington ended the 54-hole event at 53-over 917, finishing ahead of 23rd-ranked Stanford and 24th-ranked Vanderbilt which tied for 14th at 56-over 920. The Huskies opened the final day in a tie for 11th, just three shots out of the top-10, but UW wasn't able to duplicate its solid second round effort (7-over 295) during the last 18 holes.
With just two more regular season tournaments on tap, the Washington men's golf team heads to Columbia, Mo., for the first annual UMB Bank-Mizzou Tiger Intercollegiate Classic, Monday, April 7 through Tuesday, April 8.
Track and Field
Windy conditions made for a rough day across the board at the Pepsi Team Invitational, but the Washington men's and women's track and field teams still combined to post eight NCAA Regional qualifying marks, win five events, and set three new school Top-10 marks. The Huskies struggled to fourth-place finishes in both the men's and women's team standings, due mostly to a thin roster that left them unrepresented in several events, including all the relays. Oregon won the men's dual with the 10th-ranked Huskies, 230-125.5, and the UO women 192-78, although the 23rd-ranked Minnesota women's team came out on top among the foursome.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Willingham said both could return to action at any time. They are not academically ineligible, but have not "lived up to their football responsibilities." That brings to mind the smart ass rhetorical question of when Willingham is going to do the same.
You really have to wonder what is going through JR Hasty's head at this point. He has been screwing up ever since he got here, and this Spring may have been his last chance to make an impact. EJ Savannah on the other hand is probably the most talented defensive player on the roster, you would hope that he would take a leadership position and get his work don e so he can get back out on the field.
Johnnie Kirton will indeed be here this Spring after spending some time studying in Africa this Winter. He has been officially moved to the defensive line for his senior year which should help fill some holes opened by graduation. Kirton should have been here all among IMHO. He only has one year left so it will be interesting to see if he can contribute at his new position. As far as TE goes the Huskies should be fine with Gottleib, Winter, Izbicki, and Middleton who comes in next Fall.
Freshman TB/WR Chris Polk is listed at the #1 slot back which would seem to indicate that he's progressing as well as expected. Starting guard Ryan Tolar will miss spring football because of an undisclosed injury situation, along with starting safety Jason Wells who we already knew was going to miss the spring session. Look for Scott Shugert to step up big time in Tolars absence.
Luke Kravitz, an experienced senior fullback, is listed fourth on the depth chart. Willingham said that is because Kravitz missed all of winter conditioning when he went to South Africa for the academic quarter. Willingham praised the decision to go abroad, but said when players miss significant time, they start over. Expect to see Kravitz back in the mix with Paul Homer at fullback by fall. Once again you have to wonder about the mixed messages that Willingham is bringing when he preaches academics, but then temporarily zings a stalwart guy who take advantage of the opportunity.
26 year old DB Tripper Johnson has joined the team as an invited walk on this Spring. Johnson prepped at Newport and has been banging around baseball's minor leagues ever since. Since he hasn't played the game in eight years it may be a big if if he can contribute. Keep an eye on him this Spring, inside sources say that he may surprise.
Pac Ten Alley
I am getting things out a little early this week because of a string of endless meetings on the road, but there is a lot going on in the Pac Ten this week.
Now it is time to take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.
We start off this week with UCLA because they are back in the Final Four once again. The question is asked if they don't win it all this time will they be failures?
It was a topic of discussion two weeks ago, on and around Selection Sunday. If UCLA was to make it back to the Final Four for a third consecutive year, and lost, would it be branded a failure? Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the only one of the Bruins who will start in the national semifinals three years in a row, said that he expects a different result this time around and if they don't bring home a 12th NCAA championship then, yes, this season will have been a loss. "Yeah, definitely," he said. "I personally feel that way and I know the rest of my teammates do, too. We've been there and we have the experience and everything. "Anything less than a national championship would be a failure for us again. And, you know UCLA, they definitely expect a national championship again. Anything less than that would be a failure for the season."
I thought Oregon was the best football team in the country till Dixon went down. this Spring is going to be all about finding a replacement at QB for the Ducks.
A year after trudging off into the woods for some profound soul-searching, the Oregon football team enters spring practice today in what it considers a positive state of mental health.
The Ducks contended for a national title most of last fall, ending up 9-4. A series of injuries, most notably to quarterback Dennis Dixon, derailed their dreams. But a three-game losing streak to close the regular season was overshadowed by a blowout Sun Bowl victory. Among the UO veterans, there is a solemn awareness of last season’s unattained goals. But that’s a far cry from the disappointment they felt a year ago at this time, having lost four straight in the fall of 2006 to finish 7-6, with an embarrassing loss in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Dispelling some myths about Cal football.
With spring ball here, I’d like to dispel a few of the biggest myths from the 2007 season in our attempt to move forward. I’ve had plenty of time to peruse various Cal sports forums on the Internet and have heard quite a few myths thrown around as truth. With that, let’s dig in…
Mike Montgomery on Cal short list?
Mike Montgomery hasn't coached college basketball in four years, yet he’s one of the hottest names in the country — and has been since he was dismissed by the Warriors 18 months ago.
With his name being linked to vacancy after vacancy, Montgomery has spent time as a TV analyst (he’s very good), assisting Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby, playing golf and collecting his Warrior paychecks (he was under contract through this spring).
A little spring football going on at USC.
The quarterback goes back and throws a pass, and Smith plucks the ball out of the air and runs into the end zone for a USC touchdown.Sound familiar? But no, this wasn't former Trojan Steve Smith catching a pass on offense. It's his little brother Malcolm Smith intercepting a pass from Aaron Corp during Thursday's spring practice. Malcolm isn't a wide receiver like his brother, but a 6-foot-2, 215-pound athletic linebacker. It is clear, however, that Malcolm, who could be called Steve's "big" little brother, has the instincts of Steve, who won two national titles at USC and finished his four-year collegiate career in 2006 as the school's top receiver.
Arizona has a lot of work to do this Spring.
The University of Arizona entered the 2007 season with 10 returning starters on defense.
That unit was supposed to be special, but was anything but, allowing 27 points and 372 yards per game. The Wildcats offense comes in returning 10 offensive starters. Arizona’s scoring woes should be no more. Think again.
Lute is back, could coach till 80, but Kevin O'Neill isn't waiting, he is moving on.
Lute Olson refused Tuesday to elaborate what caused him to take a leave of absence, but the 73-year-old Arizona basketball coach admitted he sought treatment for stress and anxiety. "I'm already going beyond what I was going to tell you," Olson said at a televised news conference. "That's a personal issue." But Olson did say his family doctor examined him last month, and said, "You're ready for whatever you want do do." Olson said he plans to coach at least until 2011, when his contract runs out, and said the school's verbal agreement with Kevin O'Neill to be Olson's successor has been tabled. "I asked him, if he wanted to be an assistant another three or five years, and Kevin said, no." Olson said the school would honor O'Neill's remaining year on his contract but that O'Neill would not be on the basketball staff next season.
At Stanford the Lopez Twins are headed to the NBA.
More than anything, what happened to Stanford in the Sweet 16 is what always happens to Stanford. The opponent turned up the intensity on both ends, and the Cardinal had no response.
Sometimes it happens in the opening minutes of the game, sometimes in the middle minutes of the second half, sometimes in the final minutes of the game. Sometimes it happens in the first round, sometimes in the second, occasionally in the Sweet 16, once in a while in the Elite Eight.
QB Danny Sullivan waiting for his chance at Arizona State behind Carpenter.
Danny Sullivan was fully committed to Arizona State from the start."I told my dad right before I came here my freshman year, I'm not going anywhere," said Sullivan, who comes from a family of athletes and coaches. "When you think about it, if you go somewhere, it's going to end up in a bad situation unless you're going I-AA. My thought process was wait it out, and your time is going to eventually come."The junior quarterback still feels that way, even though circumstances took away his chance to redshirt and could leave him with only one year of significant playing time.
Spring ball is winding up at WSU, do they practice in the snow over there? Tony Bennett turned down Indiana, but will he turn down LSU, or Cal?
Whatever the reason, it's a new week and spring ball is in the home stretch. While spring has been "OK", according to some, Wulff weighs in today in the Spokesman about how important this week really is. For a quick recap, here's where we are with one week left:
At Oregon State they only care about baseball this time of the year, so Jake from the Building the Dam Blog and I exchanged some baseball questions this past week. For the record I think the Beaver baseball program has been one of the brightest spots in Northwest sports the past couple of years.
John: How deep will the Beavers go this year, do they have the ability to get back into the CWS?
Jake: Well, it's hard to say. If you would have asked me that same question at the end of Pac-10 play last year I would have told you that they have a tough shot at making it to NCAA Regionals. They did that thanks to a series win against UCLA the last week of the season, and made it to Omaha unscathed. Whether they were truly the last team team into the field or not I don't know, but it was definitely a impressive feat to dominate Omaha after a less than impressive Pac-10 season. That said, OSU can definitely make it back to Omaha. They've got guys back from last season that played roles in the titles (Wong, Wallace, Hopkins, Lechelt, George, Lennerton, etc.), but they lose their key leaders (Darwin Barney and Mitch Canham). I can assure you that this team will improve as the season goes on and the weather gets better (they're already showing signs of this), and will make a run at the postseason.
John: Who is the best player on the Beaver roster?
I'm partial to Joey Wong, but there are plenty of talented players on this roster. Just looking at the pitching staff, Mike Stutes returns for his senior season after many expect him to go pro, Jorge Reyes, CWS MVP, returns, some other relief pitchers are back, and a bunch of talented newcomer's join the squad this year. Closer Kevin Rhoderick (96 mph fastball) will continue right where former OSU closers Kevin Gunderson and Eddie Kunz left off. As for the position players, there's Chris Hopkins returning for his senior season in center field, Joey Wong at short stop (he moved across the bag after Barney left), Jason Ogata who mostly DH's, transfer Daniel Robertson in right, John Wallace in left, and the list goes on. Every one of these players has the potential to be an MVP of any game. It depends what you're looking for in the best player on the roster, but I would probably go with the senior leadership in Stutes on the hill.
John : Is ASU the team to beat this season in the Pac Ten?
Jake: Absolutely. The Sun Devils are always going to put good clubs together, as they did this year. They're easily one of the best teams in the nation this year, and they were last year. Even though Oregon State won the National Championship, I don't truly believe that we had the best team. I would say that Arizona State's team was better, as they displayed in a series sweep in the Pac-10 season. But Oregon State had the benefit of getting things done when it mattered most, and the Beavers execution led to a 12-6 win against ASU in Omaha, one of the most surreal victories I've ever witnessed. That said, the Sun Devils took it to the Beavers in a pre-season game at the DeMarini Invitational this pre-season. Arizona State put up seven runs in the first inning, possibly some retribution for what happened at Rosenblatt last year. The Bears couldn't get a lick for the rest of the game, and went down by the score of 11-0.
John: How do you feel about Oregon restarting their baseball program, does it worry you, or will it be good healthy competition?
I know a lot of people have, but I really haven't thought about it that much. Obviously it's great for the game of baseball, but I feel bad for the UO wrestlers and the way the Ducks administration went about dismissing the wrestlers in favor of baseball. The thing that irks me is that their main motive for bringing it back is likely the fact that they want to tap into the Beavers success, and they aren't happy that their rivals are excelling in something they don't have. But once things get up and running, it will be nice to have an in-state rival.