Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

The shutdown

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Since I am a Department of Defense contractor, examining military recruits. I expected that we would not be called to come in after Monday but I worked Tuesday and was told they expect no slowdown. Of course, maybe they won’t pay us but that is still in the future.

So far, the shutdown seems to be working with the assistance of Democrat verbal and active mistakes. I always thought Gingrich fumbled the ball in 1995. This time, the GOP strategy of passing small directed bills to fund popular programs, seems to be working. Certainly the Democrats like Harry Reid and the National Park Service are helping all they can.

Washington politicians may have the time to debate how to fund the government, now that their pig-headedness has shut it down, but the nation’s World War II veterans don’t.

“World War II veterans are dying by the hundreds every day,” says Fred Yanow, of Northbrook, Ill., who spent 1942-45 in the Pacific theater as an Army private. “It’s a shame that they don’t care about World War II veterans when so many of them are dying off.” The 16 million men and women who wore their nation’s uniform in the so-called “Good War,” from 1941 to 1945, are leaving for eternal R&R at the rate of 650 a day.

Which Washington politicians ?

Harry Reid ?

Claire McCaskill had some clever comments.

McCaskill also made it clear that she felt some members of Congress at the memorial were only because they had “nothing to do” but try to score political points.

“There’s people here that have nothing to do – they’re just trying to score political points,” McCaskill told MRCTV’s Dan Joseph.

Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) had different takes on the situation. Rep. Gohmert disagreed with the senator, and thinks that those who bring that point up are usually the ones guilty politicization of it in the first place:

She is doing what she can to show who is responsible for this stalemate. Congratulations.

The DoD canceled the military academies sports programs, including the Army Navy game which is sold out.

Update: According to statements released by the schools, the Department of Defense has suspended intercollegiate athletics and these games have been tentatively canceled. We’ll find out by noon ET Thursday if these games will go on.

Update 2: CBS says it’s working on alternate programming in the event Air Force-Navy is canceled.

This site is generally not the right site for discussing the government shutdown, just as Politics-Right-Here-USA.com or whatever is probably not the place you should go for breaking college football news. But every so often, our worlds collide, and such is what we’ve got here, with Saturday’s Air Force-Navy and Army-Boston College games suddenly imperiled by the bozos in Washington.

We repeat: Air Force-Navy might get canceled. Because of the government.

Then we hear they may have backed down.

The Democrats’ message is not very consistent.

Happy Days might even be here again.

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I am an old USC fan going back to the half senior season in 1956. I hated to see Pete Carroll go. SC has been hated as only persistant winners can be hated. See the New York Yankees for confirmation. Reggie Bush was never my favorite player. I thought Carroll put him in situations he should not have been in because he was grooming him for the Heisman. I think it may have alienated Lendale White who would have won the Heisman had he stayed for his senior year. Bush was not an inside runner and White was passed over too many times for my taste.

Then, of course, Bush stabbed Carroll and the university in the back. I was not a great fan of Garrett as Athletic Director, either.

Now, better times may be coming. Two of my favorite players were Haden and McKay. They were overachievers who both had short pro careers then settled into successful civilian careers as lawyers. Haden even became the radio voice of Notre Dame football in addition to his law practice. Now, they are back together again, responding as usual when the university needs them.

That guy looks exactly like a successful lawyer who responded when his alma mater needed him.

On the serious side, it is a relationship of two 57-year-old men with unwavering respect for each other.

McKay says, “I don’t think, in all these years, that we’ve ever had a disagreement.”

Haden says, “I trust him completely.”

On the less serious side, they are also unwavering in their pursuit of ways to rip each other. McKay calls his boss the “short quarterback.” Haden calls McKay the “employee.”

McKay says the touchdown catch in the Rose Bowl was due to his superior athletic skills. Haden says the ball hit him in the hands.

But the respect never stops filtering through the rips and jabs.

I wish Pete Carroll had had a guy he could trust implicitly.

Well, SC has a new coach

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

And I don’t like it at all.

Lane Kiffin seems to be the new SC coach and Norm Chow is supposedly coming back, as well. The Tennessee fans are not happy. He was there for one year in his “dream job.” Bullshit.

Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin has been named the next head coach at Southern California, athletic director Mike Garrett announced on Tuesday.

Kiffin replaces Pete Carroll, who jumped to the NFL as coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

“We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” Garrett said in a statement. “I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I’m confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.”

The hiring was first reported by ESPN.com.

Kiffin, the former Oakland Raiders coach, led the Volunteers for only one season.

Kiffin has been on the move of late. He was 7-6 in his one season at Tennessee and 5-15 in one-plus seasons with the Raiders before being fired in September 2008.

Garrett seems to be assembling his own staff.

In another part of the blockbuster staff changes, a deal is being finalized for longtime offensive coordinator Norm Chow to return to the Trojans in the same capacity, sources close to the school told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.

It looks like Ed Orgeron, who left SC to coach MIssissippi, is also said to be coming back.
Kiffin will bring his father and defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, and assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron to Southern California with him.

What I see is the Carroll assistants assembling to take over again. What happened ? It looks to me that there is a story about why Carroll left and why these coaches all left while he was the head coach. Kiffin is not without some controversy.

Kiffin then became Al Davis’ unusual choice to take over the Raiders as a 31-year-old coach with almost no NFL experience. He made it through just 20 games before an ugly public firing in which Davis called Kiffin a liar who brought “disgrace” on the Raiders.

Kiffin was the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season, but he also brought an unwelcome spotlight on the Vols with several minor NCAA violations.

He returns to USC with the school facing a yearslong NCAA investigation over events during his tenure as an assistant, including Reggie Bush’s final years at the school.

It still looks to me that Garrett is running things and Kiffin may not have much control. There is a story about Carroll leaving that I don’t know yet.

UPDATE: Norm Chow is not leaving UCLA. So much for that rumor.

An ugly game

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

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This photo from the LA Times sort of captures the essence of yesterday’s game. This was the worst SC loss I’ve seen in decades. In the fourth quarter, before I left, the defense had quit. They just wanted to get the game over. The offense wasn’t much better. Barkley was throwing foolish passes and fumbled when he shouldn’t have. Joe McKnight took off on a great run but was caught from behind by a Stanford D back. As a Times writer pointed out, that would not have happened with Reggie Bush.

What has happened ? First, I think Carroll has lost too many assistant coaches. I don’t know why; maybe they are not paid enough; maybe he is not the easiest guy to work for.

Whatever it is, he is in trouble.

The defense played poorly, even the stars. On one completed touchdown pass, Taylor Mays was way out of position. If I know this, the coaches must know it.

I have been struck at how the SC team is losing to teams with shorter players. They have not been recruited, I suspect, because their physical attributes did not fit some template for an SC player. They are not tall enough, for one thing. Look at Oregon State. The Rogers brothers are both short; very short. The Oregon quarterback, Masoli, is short. The conventional wisdom is that short quarterbacks cannot see over tall linemen. If so, why did 6-3 Barkley throw three interceptions ? Stanford running back Gerhart is short and slow. Well, that’s what they said. Reality seems to be different.

I think the season is over for SC. They will be lucky to beat UCLA and very lucky to beat Arizona. This is the year that the PAC 10 teams get even for all those years when SC was dominant.

The Limbaugh caper may hit the NFL where it lives

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

UPDATE: The plot thickens with evidence that Obama is involved in the Limbaugh smear campaign. Hope and change. Also, here are a few stories about other NFL owners and their hijinks.

The news came out last week that Rush Limbaugh was part of a syndicate interested in buying the St Louis Rams from Georgia Frontiere’s estate. Rush has a history with pro football having worked for a team before he got into radio. His participation in the syndicate was derailed by a smear campaign alleging he had made racist remarks in the past. Those remarks were never verified and, since his radio show is recorded by the left looking for gaffes, there should have been an example. He is now considering his legal options. He is a famous person so the libel laws of the US are very strict but he may be able to prove malice, a requirement for such a suit. There is a second possibility that the NFL people should have considered. A lot of NFL fans are also fans of Limbaugh and might be upset at this smear campaign.

That doesn’t seem to have bothered certain anti-Rush figures who should know better.

And this time every black person with an ounce of common sense and self-respect is riding shotgun with Jesse and Al, who have justifiably voiced their displeasure with Limbaugh’s ownership bid.

I’m not mad at Limbaugh. He expresses no shame to the game he’s been running for two decades. He’s an opportunistic, race-baiting, anti-black entertainer. The popularity of the gangsta element of hip-hop music culture has allowed Limbaugh to proudly claim that his form of entertainment is mainstream.

Guess what color this guy is.

Here are two quotes attributed to Limbaugh in a 2006 book, “101 People Who Are Really Screwing America,” by Jack Huberman.

“You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray (Dr. King’s assassin). We miss you, James. Godspeed.”
“Let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”

I received an e-mail from Limbaugh or one of his employees Tuesday morning somewhat disputing the authenticity of the quotes.

The e-mail reads: “We’ve sourced the quote,” then cites a wikiquotes entry: “These quotations are currently being disputed because the author of the book did not provide air dates for the original source material quoted.”

Limbaugh claimed on his radio show Monday that his staff could not find any proof that he ever joked about slavery. I’m sorry. Limbaugh doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on racial matters.

Nope, no benefit of the doubt. Any doubt. Mr Whitlock better have a good lawyer. That is malice.

This story may have longer legs than the NFL would like. It has been pretty much an open secret that the majority of players are black. Is it really a good idea to make a big deal of this ? Black racism is a nasty little secret that was briefly exposed when Obama’s pastor hit the airwaves last year. Do we want this in sports ? Do THEY want this in sports ?

Another Pete Carroll story

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

I have a lot of regard for Pete Carroll and not just because he wins. He seems to have a sense for people who are not appreciated by others. I have previously told the story of Ken Norton Jr, who is now the linebacker coach.

Seto

Today’s story is another one, even more unlikely if possible. Rocky Seto is the new SC defensive coordinator. He has quite a story.

The book says Rocky Seto was a walk-on at USC in the late ’90s, meaning he didn’t come with a scholarship.
The book is too nice to say he was actually a beg-on.

The difference is that walk-ons, these days, are usually players whom the coaches know. They’re encouraged to join the team with the tacit assurance they’ll get scholarship help later to keep them from attending Cal Poly or Utah State, etc. They are not strangers.

When Seto finished his second year at Mt. San Antonio College, he drove to USC and sat in the Heritage Hall lobby. He was a cold call.

He had gone to Mt. SAC because Bill Fisk, an ex-Trojan, was the coach. He thought that might help him. He didn’t have an NFL bloodline. His dad was a Japanese immigrant who ran a gardening business in Boyle Heights and then Arcadia, and Rocky spent a lot of time raking and mowing. Football was more appealing.
But this was more a delusion than a dream. This wasn’t even like David Eckstein showing up at U. of Florida workouts, looking for a couple of swings. At least Eckstein was on a field. Seto had nothing going, except that he was coming to USC anyway.
Seto looked up and saw Coach John Robinson walking around on the second floor. This was it.
“I went up the stairs and sort of hung around where I saw him going,” he said the other day. “I wanted to make it look like a chance meeting.”
Robinson brought Seto into his office for a 10-minute chat.
In August, Seto wore a USC practice jersey.

I am a big fan of John Robinson and still believe he was screwed by SC. Had he been treated properly, he would probably have been the coach until he retired. Instead, an administration that did not value sports pushed him out and the university paid for this error with years of mediocre teams and loss of revenue. Football supports the rest of the varsity programs. In 1979, the university decided that coaches could not be trusted to monitor players academic performance. They took this role away from the coaches, and Robinson, and gave it to some junior faculty members who promptly lost their objectivity and let players get away with taking a sham “writing course” by correspondence. When the scandal broke, instead of acknowledging its own failure of judgement, the administration blamed the coaches and forced Marv Goux, the long time coach, to leave the university. Robinson left soon after to coach the Rams. He eventually returned but it was never the same.

I think the Robinson experience has made the present administration appreciate what they have in Pete Carroll. Like Robinson, Carroll will continue to lose assistant coaches because, in addition to teaching players how to make it in the NFL, he is teaching coaches. Look at Rocky Seto.

Hackett was fired after 2000. Seto feared he was losing his grip on football. He was also second-guessing his decision not to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy, even though the program had accepted him.
“Sharla wanted us to go to a women’s volleyball game and support the team,” he said. “I said, nah, I wasn’t in the mood. But I finally did.
“And talk about being in the right place at the right time again.”

One of the players was Jaime Carroll. Her father is named Pete.
“He was sitting right behind me,” Seto said. “I knew he was the darkhorse candidate for the job. I just introduced myself and told him who I was and what he did. And then he got the job and kept me around.”
Seto wasn’t on the official staff in 2001-02, but he worked with the safeties. “It helps,” he said, “when one of them is Troy Polamalu.”
It also helped that Carroll, in his own mind, never quit playing safety. Carroll and Seto discussed the position day and night. When a full-time spot opened in 2003, Seto took it, and when Nick Holt left for Washington last year, Carroll took about five seconds to make Seto the coordinator.

Prestigious title. Risky job. The Trojans lost three linebackers to the first round of the NFL draft, plus five other starters.
That defense held opponents to nine points a game and 3.6 yards per play.

The four USC opponents in 2009 have averaged 10 points and 3.5 yards per play.

Asked about it, Seto launched into a checklist of deflected credit. Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, linebackers coach Ken Norton, graduate assistant secondary coach Kris Richard …
“Sure, Pete always puts his stamp on the defense,” said Petros Papadakis, the broadcaster who played with Seto at USC. “But the guys up front have learned to play together in a short period of time. Sometimes that takes all year. Players like Rocky so much, they don’t want to let him down.”
There was a limit to the nice.
“During practice, Rocky was a pest,” Papadakis said, laughing. “He would cut-block you. This did not go over very well in November with some of the guys. But everybody knew what walk-ons went through.
“To be honest there are some walk-ons that you never remember. Everybody remembers Rocky. He was a great teammate.”
He was not a walk-on for long. In a team meeting, Hackett announced Seto had earned a scholarship.

Now, he is defensive coordinator. Another Carroll success story in seeing the potential in people who might not impress a less intuitive superior.

Aaron Corp’s only start at USC

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Well, Washington won the game after SC lost a series of turnovers inside the red zone. Two fumbles lost and another one recovered. Corp threw an interception and barely avoided a couple of others. The defense played a great game but they have to have some help. If Barkley isn’t healed next week, I suspect Mitch Mustain will get his chance. Corp was ineffective. I also giove Washington a lot of credit but, let’s face it, turnovers inside the red zone will lose games.

Mark Sanchez seems ready to leave SC

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

UPDATE: It’s official. Sanchez is leaving and Pete Carroll is not happy. Bill Plaschke thinks he is mad because it will hurt the team but I think it could be frustration that Sanchez is making a bad decision. Anyway, he is gone for next year.

This LA Times story suggests that Mark Sanchez will leave school for the NFL draft after only one season as a starting quarterback. I think this will be a mistake for him but it will be a boon for Mitch Mustain, who transferred from Arkansas to SC two years ago. Aaron Corp, a freshman backup quarterback will also be given a chance to start next season with a largely intact offensive unit. SC loses a big part of the defensive squad but the offense will be intact, except for Sanchez if he leaves.

Sanchez may have looked at the careers of Matt Leinert and Matt Castle this year. Castle was a backup at New England until Tom Brady was hurt early in the season. Castle then took over and has had an outstanding season, taking the Patriots to the playoffs. Leinert started a few games for Arizona but has been benched this season as old timer, Kurt Warner took them to the NFL Championship game this weekend.

Apparently, he was also influenced by the fact that three other outstanding quarterbacks will return to school, leaving the draft short of competition for Sanchez. Maybe this is a good decision for him, especially as the quarterback coach for SC will change next season as Steve Sarkesian leaves for Washington. I think another year would make him a better prospect but he has his career to think of and maybe he prefers to move on now. For his sake, I hope he is correct.

Trojan spirit

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I haven’t previously posted on the fortunes of my sports team. My two sports are college football (In which I am a passive participant) and sailing (In which I getting increasingly passive but not by choice).  I have been attending USC football games since 1956 when Jess Hill was coach. He had to deal with the sanctions of the old Pacific Coast Conference, which limited the seniors to five games of the ten game season.

Jon Arnett

Jon Arnett resisted the lure of the pros and played his truncated senior season. I was present at his last college game, which was at Stanford Stadium and did we hate Stanford ! There were irregularities with the football players, probably trivial in this age of steroids, but the conference voted to sanction USC, UCLA, Cal and Washington. In those days, the conference was divided between big and small schools, and the small schools, plus Stanford which voted with them, voted to sanction the big schools. The result was a five game season for the seniors. The UCLA star, Ronnie Knox, had elected to jump to the Canadian Football League rather than play a truncated season so Arnett’s decision was all the more poignant. We were all in tears as Arnett came to the rooting section after the game and apologized to the students because they had been unable to beat Stanford. That was the low point.

Then came the years of John McKay. Don Clark had done his best but it wasn’t enough. John McKay made everybody happy. The 1963 Rose Bowl Game, which capped the 1962 season, was the greatest game I’ve attended. I usually don’t like those close fought contests but that one was worth the suspense.

Pete Carroll

USC went through the doldrums after McKay left for Tampa Bay in 1976 but the arrival of Pete Carroll brought the alumni back. There is a story today that makes the point about what kind of man Pete Carroll really is.

Ken Norton Jr

In 2003, Ken Norton Jr, son of the heavyweight boxing champion and former star UCLA linebacker, asked the UCLA coach for an unpaid job as graduate assistant with the UCLA team. He had been an all-pro player for 13 seasons in the NFL. He wanted to coach and had done some high school level coaching. The UCLA coach, the recently fired Karl Dorrell, told him they had enough coaches at UCLA. He was a UCLA alum and a football star from his days in college and in the NFL but they didn’t want him, even for free!Norton then asked Pete Carroll for the same job. Carroll said welcome aboard. Four years later, Norton is the linebacker coach and may well be in line for a head coaching job one day.

Dorrell is now gone and the new UCLA coach approached Norton for a coaching job. No thanks. Norton knows which is the first class operation and he will stay.

Once a Trojan, always a Trojan.

Even if you weren’t always a Trojan.

By the way, the original LA Times story about Dorrell’s turning Norton down in 2003 is no longer on the Times’ web site.