Thursday, April 5, 2007

Deal done, drama over for CU; CSU defense

University of Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn revealed his deepest feelings with his press conference statements regarding his hiring of Air Force's Jeff Bzdelik as his new men's basketball coach.

“Jeff symbolizes all the essential leadership qualities that are important to successfully direct the Buff basketball program and represent the University of Colorado with class and distinction,” Bohn said. “His high level of professionalism, competitive spirit, work ethic and integrity makes him the perfect choice for our world class institution,” Bohn said.

There it is -- between the lines. You see it, too.

What the Buffs' new boss brings to the program that the former coach didn't is leadership, professionalism, class and the ability to make CU special.

Bohn knew and stewed last season over the inadequacies that reigned over the players and then he looked around at Texas A & M and Air Force and saw strong leaders who insisted on defense, structure, playing unbelievably hard, making no excuses and winning frequently. He liked that and decided he wanted some of it for his own. He fell in love and never fell out.

He got bold, went after his man and scored him.

Now it's time to see if the reality matches the vision for happiness.

Sugar Ray Leonard punching flurry

Man, can Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post urinate all over a good moment or what? Wonder if he gets many birthday party invitations? Thing is I appreciate his writing much more than most but saying that Jeff Bzdelik will regret moving from Air Force to the CU, when he is an accomplished coach, the most qualified the school has maybe ever had, is highly questionable thinking. By the way, the new boss will win. Will it be enough, who knows but I'll walk the plank and say his percentage will be significantly higher than Ricardo Patton's and guess what -- winning is the best currency for recruiting.

Not all is good, however, if Kyle Ringo's report in the Daily Camera is accurate. Tom Abatemarco as an assistant gets an "F" as a grade (what has he done lately really and nice rap sheet), and while former Buff Jay Humphries on the bench is all nice and sentimental give me more experience as a teacher and a beast of a recruiter any day. Bzdelik's friends from the Air Force would provide familiarity, continuity and make some sense and that package can't be bypassed but open up the interview process nationwide if you really want to do this thing right.

Anyone seen the boss

So who follows Bzdelik at Air Force?

And is that program a good job now?

Bzdelik raised expectations and proved that good coaching wins but much slippage will likely be viewed as disappointment. That's one tough assignment and is going to require bold, military-type composure to handle.

Names are being thrown out now, most of which will not excite Falcons' fans but the ones in a Jake Schaller article in the Colorado Springs Gazette that were intriguing were former Michigan coach Tommy Amaker and Tulsa lead man Doug Wojcik.

Early, yes, but significant too

Either Colorado State is going to be an offensive machine in 2007 or the defense is just playing 'ole in practices and scrimmages.

Right now, everyone is looking like an all conference player when they have a ball in their hand. Truth is the Rams do have some pieces to score points but reality also is those scholarshipped (yes, my own word) to stop those impressive advances down the field are apparently playing blindfolded.

Dismiss it all as practice, it being early April, whatever but ignoring the signs of trouble usually lead to a season that ends up on the rocks. Sure, the coaches see it and know they need to improve but only time will tell if the talent and execution will be there to stop the bleeding come fall.

Cabral excited for fall

CU linebackers' coach Brian Cabral has had his share of top players and he thinks Jordon Dizon is ready to bust out, according to Coaches love talent. Mix in experience and they swoon. Dizon has it both and if he keeps his body all baling-wired up and tackles George Hypolite and Brandon Nicolas take the next step forward in their development, Dizon could shoot himself into the class of great Buffs' 'backers.

Smith review

Jason Smith has decided that the college game, while nice, just doesn't pay the bills so he's ready for the NBA draft, but is he ready for the NBA?

Despite what Chad Ford of's Insider thinks (likely second rounder), Smith is a first-round lock unless he goes home to mom and dad's today and does nothing but watch reality TV and drink himself sloppy out-of-shape.

First of all, he's tall, very tall and those guys get passes on a lot of things. Next, he actually has, with apologies to Tim Hardaway -- skilz.

No good team at the end of round one is going to let a talent like Smith slip past them.

And if that local pro team weren't so loose with spending first-round selections (see Kenyon Martin and Allen Iverson trades), the CSU big man could be playing at home.

Former Colorado prep earning national attention

University of Miami defensive lineman Calais Campbell is looking good, and people are noticing as his name is being mentioned as a possible Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award winner at the end of next season.

Maybe it was those 20 tackles for losses and 10 sacks that did it for the former Denver South star.

Award or not, he gets the salute

So who is this Champ Bailey guy?

Imagine how good he could be if the Broncos could rush the passer just a little.

There is no doubt Denver misses Clinton Portis, who would have become the best rusher in team history but today you couldn't convince the team to trade Bailey for any running back shy of LaDainian Tomlinson and even he might not be enough for coach Mike Shanahan.


The Rockies pound Arizona 11-4 as Matt Holliday doubled, homered, drove in four runs and Rodrigo Lopez makes fans rub their eyes with seven inning of impressive pitching. Quick hitters on the team's first three games -- Jeff Francis and Lopez both showed up as quality starters and Todd Helton, coming off back-to-back down seasons is off to an uncharacteristically hot start (5 for 12). Maybe he's healthy, angry and driven to prove he's not a broken-down lemon.

Like rollercoasters? Just be a Nuggets fan and enjoy the ride. Denver outran Sacramento 120-115 as they continue to pile up points. Carmelo Anthony, Nene, Marcus Camby and Allen Iverson all played stellar games, proving talent is not the problem for that group of misfits. It's chemistry. Honestly, coach George Karl, who was brilliant when he first got to town, has lost their ear. Good news for him, he'll get one more season to make it all work to owner Stan Kroenke's satisfaction.

Another breakup might be coming

Is Bob Huggins like Kevin Durant -- one and done?

Could be, according to Jeff Goodman of, who believes Huggins might go home and coach West Virginia.

Think Kansas State might wig out over that one?

They rescue Huggins from the reclamation pile, he does outstanding work in recruiting and on the court and then splits like a poor construction company, when the job is only part done.

That wouldn't go over well, would it?

The other soap opera

Will he or won't he is the question. Billy Donovan the subject of it all. Heading to Kentucky or not. People just can't quit writing about it.

Pity Kentucky, who won't get Donovan, won't get Texas' Rick Barnes and likely will whiff on Michigan State's Tom Izzo too.

John Feinstein of the Washington Post says the Wildcats aren't the only one who want Donovan. Just when you think you have enough money someone shows up with more in their pocket.

So why do you care? Word is Jeff Bzdelik wants to return to the NBA. He likely won't have to win an NCAA championship to get that offer. How successful he is and how quickly he achieves that will determine when the phone rings.

More than a coach

Some men just won't take 'no' for an answer and Eddie Robinson was one of them. He didn't let the 'it can't be done' garbage stop him, he didn't let racism or segregation stop his dream and commitment to achieving and in the end it all earned him deep respect. Having his earthly life end wont' stop the impact he's had here either. He got 88 years of life but his contribution lives on.

A quote that expressed his philosophy spoke loudly, courtesy of Mary Foster's Associated Press story.

"The best way to enjoy life in America is to first be an American, and I don't think you have to be white to do so," Robinson said. "Blacks have had a hard time, but not many Americans haven't."

No excuses, just work, belief and a whole lotta' success. He did what we all hope to do -- make an impact that lives on.

The Postman

From Andrew, who's dislike of a particular color affects his dress.

"Please do as I did with my wardrobe -- lose the red."

WSN: Now, I have to ask Andrew, what if that special person in your life buys you something sharp and fashionable, say, in red? Are you going to risk the relationship damage of saying "what am I supposed to do with that!" Do you use it to tie on to long items in the back of the truck or do you say, "ah, it's just a color." Promise, during CU-Nebraska or CSU/Air Force-Utah week, I won't use it. We'll make a change to quell a potential riot.

The OU advantage

Why wouldn't one want to play at Oklahoma?

Winning tradition, pay without work and then, according to former lineman J.D. Quinn, recreational play without consequences.

Ah, sorry, he said he really didn't mean his former teammates.

O.K., whatever J.D.

Good luck trying to reconnect in Norman now.

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