Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New lieutenants; Montana brew; AFA "O"

New CSU basketball coach Tim Miles has sworn in those he entrusts to drive Rams' basketball out of the mud and on to the highway.

Mark Amaral and DeMarlo Slocum will bench it with Miles, joining Niko Medved, who recently was given the call by the head coach. Craig Smith will be the director of basketball operations.

Let's be honest, most fans are going, "who?"

But that doesn't mean anything at this point as Miles is enthusiastic about his hires and he's the one who has to work with them every day. In the end, it's about what gets produced and if CSU gets it done, no one will care that they can't pick Amaral, Slocum, Medved and Smith out of a lineup.

Buffs sidelined

Some former CU Buffs may not be all geared up these days but they are still in the game, just from the sideline, up in Big Sky country. Check out B.G. Brooks typically great work here.

For Ty Gregorak, Cedric Cormier and Craig Ochs, this is a real opportunity as head coach Bobby Hauck, a former Buff assistant is flying high and having a real good time at 41-13. Keep winning and this group might be a package deal for a bigger, brighter destination.

What's interesting about those guys is that they all came to Boulder heavily hyped and all failed, for differing reasons in meeting the high expectations.

But that's as players. As people they've shown they are achievers and going places.

Falcons opening it up

Maybe new Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is ready to open up the Falcons' offense. Maybe he's just trying to find what his team is capable of doing. Whatever it is, there is new blood and energy in town and with his impressive background, it should only be a matter of time, say 2 to 3 years, before Calhoun has that program cranked up again.

Will say it now -- I'd be real surprised if Calhoun isn't successful, as in a big winner, down in the Springs.

He's been groomed for success and well, face it, AFA coaches get it done or have we already forgot Fisher DeBerry and Ken Hatfield.

Rams back on field

CSU returned to spring practice yesterday and will work towards a scrimmage on Saturday.

I'm sure coach Sonny Lubick has been devising methods to get his defense to actually get, um, defensive, as in be in the right place at the right time and bring people down. From published reports, to this point, that has been a major problem.

Lubick is a defensive mind so if it can be fixed with the talent he has on the roster, he'll make sure it does.

He has to or all the offensive fireworks his offense is capable of won't matter much.

The Backyard

George Hypolite gets it, at least publicly. For showing great promise last season at defensive tackle, the CU bruiser admits he has a lot of holes in his game, as he told Adam Munsterteiger at Hypolite, if he truly believes that and will work it, could become a high draft choice in two seasons.

Another CU note -- defensive end Mo Lucas, a Rangeview graduate, isn't helping himself become the player he can be when he is missing time due to academics. To this point, he is disappointing but the clock hasn't yet run out on what could still be a memorable career. There's time to put it all together.

Some people act offended that Mullen's elite tackle prospect Bryce Givens is headed out of state. Read his past interviews and you knew he wanted to get away. Of course, maybe the stink is due to the fact that he's not going far enough way. That he stopped looking past Lincoln, Nebraska may be what gets under people's skin. Now that I think of it, think I'm angry about all that, too. He should be a good one in Husker red.

On Givens, Munsterteiger tells me there is more to this decision than just losing a talented mountain of a man on the offensive line, saying "With Givens set to sign with the Huskers and Nolan Brewster (Mullen) headed to Texas, this makes the recruitment of (LB) Jon Major (Ponderosa) all the more important. For public perception sake, if you're CU, you don't want to lose out on the top three in-state prospects for 2008. There is a bit of a dropoff after Major, Brewster and Givens."

All this Buff talk makes me wonder how state preps, as a whole, view the CSU program? Why don't any top recruits end up there? Sure, Lubick gets some Denver-area guys, some players in the northern or eastern part of the state but closing the sale on Mr. Big Shot, well it doesn't happen. No, the school doesn't have eye-popping facilities nor is it a marquee program but is CSU really a football wasteland to most recruits?

The Flurry

Mark Turgeon
is coming to the Big 12 as I said he should months ago-- he's just doing it with another school -- Texas A & M. An insightful move for both parties as Turgeon has done much with little, talent-wise, at Wichita State. At College Station, he will have all his lacked -- facilities, money and a realistic chance to score serious recruits. He may not become Billy Gillispie but he is going to win -- a lot. Will share that he is driven to be great. Look at how he took a sliding and uninteresting program and churned out consistently quality, exciting teams.

Loved all that talk a couple of months ago from Kevin Durant's dad, how his son was enjoying school and could return to Austin next season, despite the smooth operator ripping up the country on the basketball court. Laughed then and laughing harder now. Why lie? And don't say it wasn't lying. It was ridiculous word play. Durant is ready and is going to be an excellent pro if he can rebound at the pro level and works on developing his passing. He has elite talent and drive. Defense? You gonna knock the girl of your dreams because she can't cook?

Have to say, former major leaguer Jim Abbott getting into the College Baseball Hall of Fame immediately makes me think how much he accomplished with such a physical disability, which in turn, makes me sick that those blessed with All-World skills often come up way short producing. Like the movie, A Bronx Tale, says "the worst thing in life is wasted talent." Abbott was an inspiration we don't get enough of in sports.

There is so much that is juicy in the Barry Bonds - Hank Aaron faceoff that isn't being said by those two legends. Bonds is pretending, and that's what it is, that he isn't bothered by Aaron's refusal to show up when Bonds breaks the all-time record for career home runs but you can read it on Bonds' face, through that fake smile, he's hurt. Not insulted. Hurt. Wonder how Bonds' likes being on the receiving end for a change. For Aaron, he's not hurt. He's disgusted, insulted and not going to be a part of the charade that is Bonds' numbers, aided, allegedly, by cheating. Good for Aaron. He doesn't have to play good soldier and be a poor actor, a phony. What is interesting to ponder is how Roger Maris' family would have reacted at the time if they had known Mark McGwire was also a fraud as he was breaking their father's single-season record for mashing.

Mike Bell might be admired for his story for making and contributing to the Broncos' success after going undrafted out of Arizona but with the acquisition of Travis Henry, someone thinks Bell is going to be a "breather back," as in giving Henry one, and nothing more. If Henry pans out, that could be right but the former Buffalo Bill and Tennessee Titan groundhog is not hitting town as the next Terrell Davis or Clinton Portis so Bell could surprise if...Denver doesn't hit it big on some running back in the draft.

Ex-Pokes' coach Joe Tiller is shutting down the store. Brother, relaaaaaaaaaaax. It's not world security we're talking about. Think a bigger problem is all that talent in Columbus and Ann Arbor.

So tell me, if you will, where is the NFL Players' Association when Pacman Jones gets' punked for the entire season for conduct unbecoming a pro? Not that Jones doesn't deserve getting jailed for repeated embarrassing infractions but the NFLPA is notorious, not for defending the best interests of its' members, but for being enablers. Shocked they aren't warring in the media over the league's decision. Wait...wait...hear that? Think it's still coming. Listen for it.


Love that Rockies' bullpen, choking away yet another chance for victory. Has general manager Dan O'Dowd seen enough yet? Clint Hurdle sure has, from his dugout seat. Of course, it all doesn't matter as both just got new contracts.
Not saying it's easy to fix the problem now but the offseason was there for improvement. Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers, thanks to an ineffective outing by Byung-Hyun Kim, blew up yet another valiant effort by a starter, this time by Rodrigo Lopez. Come on now, you don't think the starters are beginning to steam, going nuclear behind the backs of the guys who can't pitch one or two effective innings a game?

In the works

Today, I speak to Marc J. Spears of the Denver Post about Jeff Bzdelik, a look behind the scenes of who the new CU coach is and then Thursday CSU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk, the man who hired Chris Lowery as Southern Illinois basketball coach, talks about his latest attempt at being kingmaker with the naming of Tim Miles as power broker in Fort Collins.

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