Saturday, August 4, 2007

Unplugged, condemned, checked out

The end of the road is right here.

This blog is now cooked.



Thanks for all those who consistently read this space. It was for you that I spent the time digging, thinking and writing.

I had hoped to begin chasing interviews again in the next few weeks on Colorado college and pro sports teams but I am silencing myself, for an indefinite period of time. It is highly unlikely, although I will never say never, that this space will be revived.

Personal and business issues are the variables that led me to the decision.

Thanks again for being the readership I respected and hoped to please with something different and interesting.

Please proceed to the exits in an orderly fashion and drive home safely.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Buffs absorb hit; Graham unknown

Colorado Warrior

P.T. Gates, CU's hope for an electric breakaway back, is, as expected docked for the season due to academic deficiencies. The junior college star won't be lining up in the Buffs backfield because he lacks the progress necessary to be eligible. Gates is saying that he is firm on CU, thanks to the relationship he has with the coaches and his love of Boulder but he's young and who knows what might happen down the road. Losing Gates takes away the Buffs hope of added punch to its' offense, making it more dynamic. While there are other talented backs on the roster, Gates was expected to be an immediate impact player. His absence will be felt in games and truly, helping recruit other players. If he would have been successful, it would have stoked the interest of recruits for the next class. Coach Dan Hawkins had to take a chance on Gates. It didn't pay off, at least not yet, if ever, but it was a calculated gamble worth investing in.

Jesse Nading (pictured) doesn't believe the return of injured running back Kyle Bell to the team is the key to CSU reversing its' fortunes. The touted defensive end thinks the Rams have sufficient talent to win without Bell. Truth is Nading was not disparaging the rugged Bell with his remarks as much as he was avoiding excuses for any sub-par results this season but maybe he should have asked offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt and quarterback Caleb Hanie what they thought about his statement on Bell first. Guessing that trio may have agreed to disagree because the reality is the Rams might be talented without Bell but they are better with him over the course of 11 games.

Daniel Graham, the former CU All-American tight end, and New England ex-patriot who is now a Bronco, is getting a lot of media stroking because he's a story of a local boy done good who came home. The given is that Graham will be the blocker Denver has lacked in the running game at the position, and a player who has winning intangibles but what is unknown is whether Graham can be the pass catcher at the NFL level that he was in Boulder. With Tony Scheffler being banged up, this is Graham's time to show his best to the coaches. That tandem potentially might be the best the franchise has fielded. The guess here is that Graham is capable of 50-600-6. His talent will only help a young Scheffler on many levels, from playing the game to learning how to be a pro.

Stephen Franklin, CSU's talented basketball recruit and an Aurora Central graduate has not turned himself in on charges of identity theft. It is difficult to imagine that this is going to turn out well and Franklin is going to have a long and memorable career in a Rams uniform. This is going to likely be a short story. Look for Franklin to end up at Backwoods U. once the dust settles and this is all ironed out, legally.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bronco breakouts; Nelson surging

Colorado Warrior on Pig

Three Broncos are predicted to bust out and big this season, according to the crystal ball of Dennis Dillon of the Sporting News. The names named are quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and guard Chris Kuper. Cutler is an easy choice, as was Marshall for how he ended his season a year ago but Kuper's selection takes some stones. Only the insiders know of his quality college resume even if he didn't play at a school anyone knows much about (North Dakota). Matter of fact, the Broncos offensive line could be ready to start turning over with Kuper and 2007 draft selection Ryan Harris to blend with the aging center Tom Nalen and left tackle Matt Lepsis, coming off of injury.

First-round draft choice Jarvis Moss is visualizing and speaking Defensive Rookie of the Year to himself. The poor guy has no idea that he won't be playing Vanderbilt or Mississippi State in 2007. And maybe he should focus on building and keeping his body strong to prove his case. Point blank, the best rusher on this team is Elvis Dumervil. If Moss can mirror ED then the Broncos might have something goin'.

Early shots in the dark -- CSU signal caller Caleb Hanie and Air Force counterpart Shaun Carney are going to lay down impressive seasons in 2007. Both are experienced, more than capable athletically and driven to succeed. Hanie could even lead the Rams to a bowl game.

Wonder why schools like USC stack prep All Americans several deep at many positions while other quality programs struggle to get one all star to commit to their school? Outside of the prestige of saying you're a Trojan, Gator, Longhorn or Wolverine there is Memphis basketball coach John Calipari's approach to selling the deal. If a recruit hesitates on him due to the logjam of talent in the Tiger's program, Calipari questions if what he's doing talking with the kid, adding that good players don't worry about who else is in the program (Sporting News).

Rockies Rap

Aaron Cook again showed he is capable of being a shutdown arm with his performance Tuesday against Florida. What Cook, however, is not, but has been often written to be, is an ace. While he can flash like one at times, he is also quite undependable in that role. That is not beating down the man because what he is is still of great importance. Cook is a quality no. 3 pitcher on a staff, which is no slight and he's a top-level no. 3. Teammate Jeff Francis, who pitches like an ace frequently, is a rock solid no. 2 guy in a rotation. What this franchise needs is a no-doubt no. 1 or another Francis to take the next step towards being a playoff team.

Don't look now but the Rockies first-round draft choice in 2004 and development-slow poke Chris Nelson is becoming an exciting player. At Single-A Modesto, Nelson is controlling the strike zone, and producing extra base hits. His average might be a disappointing .280 but he has banged out 28 doubles, six triples and 14 homers while driving in 74 runs. The shortstop also has 21 steals. What this all says is exactly what the Rockies organization preaches, which is patience. If Nelson can duplicate his numbers next season at Double-A Tulsa, he might the future impact stick in the middle of the infield the parent club is desperate for, adding a feature that the lineup truly needs.

Rodrigo Lopez down with an injury, Jason Hirsh comes back from the Springs to replace him. Hirsh started fast then fell apart. He needs to be the quality pitcher he's capable of being for the Rockies to balance the rotation.

A pitching surprise so far from the 2007 draft class is Bruce Billings, a 30th-round selection from San Diego State, who has proven to be difficult to hit (28 knocks in 38 innings) and with excellent stuff (48 strikeouts and only five base on balls). Now, that is what you call scouting.

On the other hand, outfielder David Christensen, a second round pick a year ago, is still struggling mightily, hitting but .219 with three walks and 46 strikeouts at Casper in a rookie league, a sickly and similar repeat to last season. The question now has to be can he play at all?