Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sunday Truth

Maybe Air Force can strike it rich on the coaching-search trail by tapping into West Virginia's success.

Mike Maker, a Mountaineers' assistant, is reportedly interested in replacing Jeff Bzdelik as coach, as Jake Schaller writes in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

His experience with new Michigan headmaster John Beilein as well as work in the Princeton offense make him attractive as a candidate. What form of offense he would prefer is up for debate but with the type of athletes the Falcons are able to get the Tigers' approach probably is the best choice.

In the media alone, the new coaches at Air Force (when hired), Colorado State and Colorado will always be linked, if only because of the season in which they signed their new contracts.

Miles bits

This is a new project so I never got a chance to talk the hiring of Tim Miles to replace Dale Layer at CSU. One thing that stands out immediately about him is his energy. The man has that drive to fuel the Rams' program to better things. He wasn't a high-profile hire but it is hard to deny his passion for basketball and his new job.

He also seems to understand the problems that plagued CSU last season -- turnovers, terrible defense, poor shot selection and a me-first attitude with the ball in their hands.

The fact is all that can be cleaned up with good coaching and insistence it be done.

Miles knows basketball, he knows the financial restraints he is working under and he realizes he has to recruit Colorado harder than any school in the state. If he can get it going on the court and do all those other things above, he might be able to steal a couple of recruits in and out of state. He does that and he should prove to be a strong hire by a man known for them -- athletic director Paul Kowalczyk.

Nelson no dummy

Junior college quarterback transfer Nick Nelson may not be an Academic All-American but he's no dummy either.

In a Kyle Ringo story in the Daily Camera, Nelson bypasses the usual fluff coming from the mouths of athletes to speak truth (think I like him already) about what's at stake for him before the season opener arrives.

"I think it's real crucial because this is my last chance," Nelson said. "If Cody (Hawkins) starts, I'm pretty much done. I'm going to be a backup for the rest of my career."

There certainly is a lot of stress and doubt going down up in Boulder these days but as long as the players don't get paralyzed by that, they'll survive. They have to learn to use disappointment as motivation, to do what champions do, which is to work harder and smarter in an effort to jam that rejection, triumph over obstacles and "show" cynics how ignorant they were to doubt.

Nelson already sees the writing on the wall -- he is behind Cody Hawkins in production and he has to catch up quickly or else we will become Senor Clipboard Holder -- able to tell all the girls he plays QB on the team but suppressing the fact that he never gets dirty in games.

Nelson isn't out of the mix yet but he is way behind, not showing the ability to do much of significance. He does, however, have size, experience and a background of winning. More repetitions in the offense and he could make a run to the forefront.

The Jackson saga

Bernard Jackson isn't hiding it well -- he's down in the dumps.

The good news is coach Dan Hawkins hasn't given up on him.

Take a look at Patrick Ridgell's story in Longmont's Daily Times-Call and there it is for your eyes, Jackson talking about being exiled from Camp Quarterback.

“I’m not upset,” Jackson said. “I’m not holding any grudges. I’m just kind of going along with it now. There’s no sense in fighting for some place they don’t want me at. So I’m just going along with the punches, and wherever I land — receiver, kick returner, running back, wherever — I’ll play.

"Said coach Hawkins: “We have to continue to be creative and look at all the ways we can get the ball in (Jackson’s) hands, because he’s pretty electric.”

Jackson is too talented an athlete to just put in storage, even if he back at a foreign position. Where Hawkins is going to put B-Jack is the big question and honestly, I don't think any of the coaches know right now.


Kick returner, special-package quarterback and limited-play wide receiver.

If Jackson won't bury himself emotionally he will make a significant contribution in a small amount of plays this season. He has too much athleticism not to.

Buffs ratting on pretenders

Listen to CU basketball players and immediately sense the intense dissatisfaction they had with the previous coaching staff.

From Richard Roby to Kal Bay, the voices say the pretenders that coached this team last season were not leaders, did not have a plan that was respected and could not instruct basketball in gym class.

Cold? Yes, but is it inaccurate?

Chirp, chirp.

The players realize they will have to make an adjustment and won't be allowed to play street ball anymore nor just coast academically. They see and will respect that their coaches care about them on the court and in the classroom and improvement should be seen in both areas.

On Walden thoughts

If Avalanche rock-steady star Joe Sakic were working in most any other town, his accomplishments would make him the "John Elway" of that community.

Since when did heart and togetherness become en vogue for the Nuggets?

Don't think we can undersell how dominant a performance Jason Hirsh put on against San Diego on Friday night. It was but one outing but Colorado pitchers just don't do that very often.

CU fans, even doubters of Bzdelik, have hope now. You can feel the tension, the change, the improvement coming, in the air. There's a new sheriff in town and he's a nutcracker but he will make his players better in basketball and in the classroom.

Derrick Clark is expected to be a CU assistant and in addition to being on the staff at Air Force with Bzdelik he coached eight seasons under Mike Dunlap, so even though Dunlap said 'no' to the Buffs he brings knowledge and application about Metro State College's success to Boulder.

Tom Abatemarco as a potential hire under Bzdelik is still a half-baked idea. Players at Drake despised his less-than-humanistic approach, leading a revolt. Take a read here on a man CU is reportedly interested in bringing on board. Or take a look-see here. So the guy once was able to get some big talent, a necessity in Boulder, but at what cost would all that come? Bring him in and you don't think there won't be immediate negative recruiting against the Buffs? A lot of mama's will refuse to let their children even look at CU as a possible place to be schooled and play. Why start fresh with a new head coach and immediately poison the recipe?

CU's hiring of Bzdelik got all the local attention while CSU's naming of Miles hardly garnered a second look but the Rams may have found a sleeper that will make them a player again, maybe since some name from yesteryear -- Boyd Grant.

I'm down to my final 100 bucks and I'm looking at today's final round of The Masters. Do I dare bet it on anyone but Tiger Woods? Not saying he's a lock but no one has a larger presence on the last day of the tournament than him. He's Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning, John Elway in the fourth quarter, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan and Patrick Roy in championship games.

Mocking you again

So, you don't like Bill Williamson of the Denver Post's selection of Adam Carriker, defensive lineman, Nebraska, as the Bronco's top pick in the April NFL draft?

Let's take a look at's idea for Denver -- Justin Harrell, DL, Tennessee.

Now, after reading that link and clicking on Harrell's name, don't you feel a little better about Carriker? Thing is, the Broncos are also supposedly interested, well by all the mocksters, in Aaron Ross, a DB from Texas, or Florida long, lean pass rusher, Jarvis Moss. What all those projections fail to take into account is Denver coach Mike Shanahan gets fidgety and trigger happy come draft day, always trying to move up. It doesn't always work but he always tries. Look for that to happen again and the Broncos to draft a player not on any mock draft list.


The Rockies' bullpen, weak last season, lost the team the game against San Diego as Adrian Gonzalez beat one the better Colorado relievers, Manny Corpas, for the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.

The Nuggets' have finally decided to play NBA-quality basketball and it's showing as they have now won five straight games. Allen Iverson piled up 17 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 34 and Linas Kleiza hit a late 3-pointer (his only basket of the game) as Denver won out West against the Clippers, 96-93, in a key playoff-positional contest.

The Avalanche struggled with high-scoring Nashville and lost
, 4-2, allowing J.P. Dumont to score twice and former Avs' player Paul Kariya to light the lamp as well. Milan Hejduk netted his 35th goal of the season for Colorado and Andrew Burnette also beat the goalie.

No comments: