Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday kickoff

Is it August yet?

CSU running back Kyle Bell wants to know.

And coach Sonny Lubick is marking off the days as well until Bell is back practicing and flashing his talent.

Bell must be ready to go -- durable and productive -- for this Rams' offense to be someone again on Saturday's.

Quarterback Caleb Hanie is begging Bell to bring it and the coaching staff is going to church, asking for prayer.

Bell means that much.

With him, CSU has a balanced offense and can be physical and control the game. Without his presence and production, it becomes a lower-level unit. Yes, freshman John Mosure is intriguing but no one is comparing him to Bell, Cecil Sapp or Steve Bartalo yet.

Scrimmage time

CSU's Green vs. Gold spring scrimmage is here and the Rams will knock heads today to conclude the season's work.

Reports tomorrow.

Proof in the pudding

Anyone who doubts CU's commitment to winning in basketball is not looking in the right direction.

Athletic director Mike Bohn went hard after Jeff Bzdelik and got the verbal commitment and the letter of intent and he did it with a contract that is heavy on language that expects and rewards victory, not that the ultra-competitive coach needed money to motivate him.

The Buffs are finally showing they truly want to be a player in the Big 12 scraps and come March.

Arkansas could look to high altitude for help

Could Arkansas come after Rockies' executive and former CSU and Broncos' football player Keli McGregor for its' new athletic director?

Not according to Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News.

McGregor would be an excellent choice for the Razorbacks and has the strong personality and experience to succeed but leaving the Rockies appears unlikely do to familial roots.

Who is this man

CU's Stephone Robinson was a standout prep player and he's certainly had his moments as a Buff but largely, his promise has gone unfulfilled.

This is the last rodeo for him and he has to decide how he wishes to be remembered.

Robinson doesn't lack talent. Confidence, yes, and enough hard work, who knows, but this is it for him.

He should, it says here, with some help from his teammates, average double figures in punt returns, breaking a few and be solid in kick returns.

The problem is he's going to have competition this season if spring practices are any indication as Hugh Charles and Bernard Jackson appear to be more explosive returning kicks.

Either Robinson steps up or becomes the Invisible Man.

Speaking of that local baseball team

Colorado traded one of it's two best starting pitchers ever when it sent Jason Jennings (Pedro Astacio was the other) to Houston this past offseason but now it appears the former Rockies' hurler could struggle to compete this season due to injury.

Not that Colorado made out like bandits in that deal as centerfielder Willy Taveras has not done squat at the plate and Taylor Buchholz is in the bullpen and not impressing. The saving grace for general manager Dan O'Dowd is that starter Jason Hirsh looks very promising as a no. 2 or no. 3 starter.

Mail from me to you

A CU fan sent this my way and so I share with you -- a blast from years past -- Jeff Bzdelik on a coaches' show.

Win and be forgiven

From Jeff Goodman of

"BEST WAY TO GET A JOB: Billy Gillispie was hired at Kentucky despite a pair of DUIs. Kevin Willard got the Iona gig after being arrested for a DUI a few years back. (Bob) Huggins also has one DUI on his resume. What does all this mean? I'm not really sure."

WSN: This country overlooks big issues for sports and politics and well, so much more. But we love to pontificate about morals. So what's that say?

The vibe

Spoke about it yesterday and Aaron Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News has now written about it.

Playoff time for the Nuggets and what happens to bench players Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith, two talented scorers with major chinks in their games.

The breakdown, friends, is this -- Kleiza and Smith can get away with their flaws during the regular season but those shortcomings will be magnified against San Antonio. The two shot-jackers will have to play as Denver can't play with only five players but look for Kleiza and Smith to have less of an impact on games in this series, which means less offense. The starters will have to do more.

Post Office

From Paul, who is one of the WSN's top unpaid collegiate scouting directors for the Broncos, who, we all know, need more than a little help when it comes to drafting.

Just got done doing some perusing around the internet about the NFL draft, and there are two names that I think the Broncos should consider. Safety Michael Griffin of Texas (IF he lasts, which he probably won't, until our spot in the 2nd round, take him) and Florida State linebacker Buster Davis. I think Buster would be a solid selection in the third round, and maybe good enough for a second round...although I think that's reaching for it. Still, I've been a fan of his ability since his HS days, and he didn't disappoint in college -- hopefully he won't in the NFL."

WSN: Paul, I like the work you're putting in. I do think Denver needs a Dennis Smith or Steve Atwater-type back at the safety position. Been a long time since they had a playmaker at the back end of the defense. Love John Lynch's leadership and effort but he is on the downside of a very good career. Personally, I prefer the Broncos trade up to get a stud safety like LaRon Landry of LSU in round 1 than select one of the many question marks at defensive end. If they do, however, go DL initially, then a safety in the later rounds, say Michael Johnson of Arizona, could reap dividends. Griffin was solid at Texas but I don't know if the pro scouts love his game.

At linebacker, you mentioned Davis, who was a high-school All-American who spurned Nebraska for the Seminoles and played well. He is only 5-foot-9 though so he will be drafted lower than his talent indicates he should but he could become a London Fletcher, Sam Mills-type steal.

Three new mock NFL drafts

Here are some new names for the Broncos you may not have seen yet -- a couple of linebackers (whom the WSN doesn't like in round 1) and a kick-returner extraordinaire and prospect at wide receiver.

Can't any of these mock experts get it right? Of course, Denver usually picks wild players too, making my eyes bulge.

Scoreboard grumblings

The Rockies got blitzkrieged at Coors Field by San Diego, 11-1, as skyscraper Chris Young (6-foot-10) shackled the bats while the Padres used Josh Fogg and four relievers for 17 hits. Yes, Colorado's pitching was ghastly but this team is simply not hitting and you have to wonder why? The lineup does miss second-sacker Kaz Matsui, centerfielders Willy Taveras and Steve Finley have been early busts as have young bucks Chris Iannetta and Troy Tulowitzki but...on second hand, I know why they have been ugly at the plate.

Manager Clint Hurdle is a decent man but most organizations would not have extended his contract before the season and after this weak start, his job would be on the line now with him likely to be dismissed in the next month if his team didn't right the ship.

So detective, tell me what happened

Your morning mystery




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