Monthly Archives: September 2010

Longhorns Get Texas Two-Stepped: Bruin Style

Holy mother of football, the Bruins just MESSED with Texas. While basking in the glory of victory under the Texas sun on Saturday afternoon I was swiftly reminded (as I frequently am) how proud and thankful I am to be a Bruin. Who would have thought that UCLA would be involved in the biggest upset of the weekend, maybe of the season? It wasn’t quite as raucous as the infamous “Route 66” victory back in 1997, but trust me, it sure does feel like it. A 34-12 victory is just as satisfying. The Bruins sent the near silent crowd of almost 102,000 Longhorn fans home to lick their wounds Saturday night, and they did it in a BIG way handing the (formally) undefeated University of Texas Longhorns their first loss of the season. And you guessed it, this was UT’s worst home loss since, wait for it… wait for it… the last time the Bruins came to town. The Longhorn fans were certainly looking for long awaited revenge and I’m happy to say that the only glimmer they got of that was chit-chat before opening kickoff. Instead of trying to survive or simply trying to have a good outing against the 7th ranked Texas Longhorns, UCLA came in to Memorial Stadium on a mission, a “quest” as Coach Neu called it. Well boys, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. The Bruins stomped the Longhorns and danced off the field towards the sea of Bruin fans (nearly 4,000!) in the corner of the stadium with their heads held high and smiles as big as Texas on their faces. Hello, America! The Bruins have arrived. Better late than never, right?

With their first road victory against a top ten team since 1998 (yes, you read that right), the Bruins crushed thenumber one rushing defense in the nation, gaining 264 yards. And when I say crushed, I mean crushed. Texas had given up an average of 44 rushing yards prior to this game… Jet Franklin had 118 yards rushing all by himself. Supporting RB Derrick Coleman tacked on 94 rushing yards, and Kevin Prince, the media coined “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (REAL original guys), tacked on a cool 50 yards including a 38-yard dash for a TD. The Bruins seem to be finding their identity with the run game featuring the pistol offense. I mean, KP only passed the ball 8 times for 27 yards and let the run game carry his team to a victory. At one point in the game Neu apparently looked up, saw that UCLA had 6 total passing yards, and thought to himself “Who am I?!” The defense was exceptional, as usual, forcing four first half turnovers that drastically changed the momentum of the game. Guys were flying all over the field making stellar tackles that seemed to stun the Longhorns. Kicker Kai Forbath drilled FGs from 39 and 49, ensuring that the special teams unit did their part for a Bruin victory. I honestly wish I could go through every single guy and talk about what they contributed to the victory, but I’m already rambling on and gushing enough. Shocker, I know. Needless to say, the boys in burnt orange and white were feeling “pistol-whipped” by the end of the day.

Texas looked like they were enduring an identity crises which, in a lot of ways they are. With the exit of their beloved Colt McCoy and his BFF receiver Jordan Shipley, the Longhorns are trying to figure out how to start a new chapter in the storied book of Longhorn history. From when they took the field for pre-game warm-ups in the blazing Texas heat to when they scuffled off the field after the game, the ‘Horns didn’t look energized, focused, or disciplined. “This one’s embarrassing for me. As a head coach, I’m responsible for everybody in this program, from the trainers to the managers to the walk-ons, to the kids to the coaches – everybody,” said Mack Brown following the game. The Bruins surely handed Mack and the Longhorns a strong reality check.

I was lucky enough to make the trip down to Austin, see my wonderful family, and witness for myself the competitive greatness exemplified by the Bruins on Saturday. Seeing our administration, staff, and guys come out of that tunnel last night smiling and cheering was such a fantastic feeling. The atmosphere was brimming with UCLA love and swelling confidence. Sweaty hugs were given (thanks for the sweat on my face David Allen), handshakes were exchanged, and photos were snapped to commemorate arguably the most prominent win for the Bruins in the last decade.

During my trip, not only was I reminded how proud I am to be a Bruin, but I was also ardently reminded of how proud I am to be a native Texan. The generosity, classiness, and genuine kindness of everyone in Austin were overwhelming. I’m telling you, I was blown away. While my family and I were walking to the stadium sticking out like sore thumbs in our Bruin blue gear, I did not hear one snide, cocky, or malicious comment. In fact, lots of people wished us luck and welcomed us to Austin and their illustrious stadium (not sarcastically). A few people asked us if we had Kleenex ready for after the game but said it with a grin, chuckle, and a fist bump. Upon arrival at the stadium, we were greeted with more smiles. I can count on one hand the number of ushers who didn’t smile, say hello, wish us luck, or welcome us. The Longhorn fans in the stands were complimentary of our school, our program, and our boys before they congratulated us and thanked us for coming. All of this after we completely dismantled their revered ‘Horns. One particular guy came up to us and said, “That was a real great butt whuppin.” Even as we were making the hike back to our car, the straggling UT fans saluted us with a steady stream of “good games” and “thanks for coming.” Good ‘ol Southern hospitality at its best. Thanks for having us, Austin! I hope we can treat you with the same hospitality when you journey out to LA LA Land. I am so happy I got to be there in person for this experience, what a memory!

With wins against Houston and Texas, the “turning-point” seems to have arrived and confidence is building in the Bruin lockerroom. UCLA has four games remaining against Top 25 teams; it is imperative that the Bruins take care of business with Washington State next weekend at the Rosebowl and continue to stay in the zone and tuned in with the intensity needed to win. Another week of practice ahead and our best is yet to come. The Bruins walked into Saturday’s game as boys and came out men. It was, and most certainly always is, a great day to be a Bruin. We hooked them ‘Horns ya’ll! WIN, LOSE, OR TIE, BRUIN ‘TIL THE DAY I DIE ❤

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All In The (Manning) Family

<—- THIS is their family business…

Manning. The name needs no explanation, disclaimer, or back-story. The name Manning resounds thoughts of football greatness, intense competitiveness, and family. The super successful Manning clan personifies the saying “all in the family.” With a father who played in the NFL as a quarterback for 14 years, it came as no shock when both the middle and youngest of the Manning boys picked up a football at a young age wanting to be like daddy. I can imagine that there is hardly a Manning home video or photograph without helmets or footballs flying around. Little did Archie and Olivia Manning know that two of their sons would be battling it out against each other on the gridiron 20 years later… Oh yeah, and they both play quarterback. And they both play the position brilliantly. Peyton, 34, and Eli, 29, have respectively grown into a couple of the most respected and successful quarterbacks of their time. Three of the last four Super Bowl games have featured a Manning. (Um, are you freakin’ kidding me?!) Each was drafted in the first round out of college. (STUD muffins.)Each has in his trophy case a Super Bowl championship ring. (That’s some serious bling…) They have almost identical throwing styles, picture perfect form, and both guys have an intense passion for winning, which can complicate things when the two are facing each other on the field.

The dynamic at play when family members, especially people as close as Eli and Peyton, face each other in a competitive environment can be both undeniably enjoyable and incredibly painful. The 2010 rendition of The Manning Bowl last Sunday night was more towards to the painful side of the continuum for both brothers as Peyton and the Indianapolis Colts routed younger brother Eli and the New York Giants 38-14. In post game press conferences the most prominent question was what the two said to each other when they met a mid field after the game: Eli told his elder brother he played a great game and Peyton told his younger brother that he loved him. The expressionless Olivia and Archie watched the game unfold from a box suite and briefly spoke to both boys after the game. Words of congratulations offered for Peyton, and words of encouragement offered for Eli. What good parents! After the game in the underbelly of Lucas Oil Stadium as buses were loading and equipment bags were being packed, the brothers shared one last quiet moment together before parting ways. Peyton, eager to deflect attention away from his battering of Eli’s Giants, directed the conversation to the Giant’s upcoming opponent, the Tennessee Titans. Peyton has carved up the Titans defense more than once and therefore had helpful insight into how to succeed. Immediately after demolishing his little brother on the field, Peyton had already returned to big brother mode, looking to help his baby bro out any way he could. All in the family.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 333 sets of brothers have played in the NFL (including the AAFC and the AFL), but none have done it more gracefully and passionately than the Mannings, the “Kennedys of football.” When the two meet on the field, it’s all about winning. It’s all about X’s and O’s. For those 60 minutes there is none of that brotherly love stuff. If getting a W means going straight for the jugular of their brother… they will do it without a second thought. This past weekend Peyton told his defensive end Dwight Freeney to get after the opposing quarterback, just like he does every other game. It was no matter that the opposing QB happened to be his little brother. Eli was sacked 4 times, eating turf more times than he cared to remember… Oh, brother. After the game, though it’s immediately back to being a family. “Hey buddy, I’ll call ya on Tuesday,” or “what should we get Mom for Christmas?”

Tiki and Ronde Barber have openly told stories about their difficult first encounter in the NFL. Instead of cracking each other when Ronde blitzed and Tiki attempted to block, they both held up completely aware of the fact that the man in front of them wearing an opposing jersey was their beloved brother. When Venus and Serena Williams first played each other, the play was sloppy. Now, I don’t have any brothers or sisters, but it seems like it would be impossible to go into a game or competition where you’re pitted against a sibling and treat the outing just like any other. But the Mannings seem to have this uncanny ability to completely separate athletics from personal life. What I admire most about these QB studs is their ability to switch that competitive fire and raw mental game on and off with such ease. They don’t hold back because the goal right then and right there is a win. Whoever is in the way, WILL get mowed down… doesn’t matter who you are; it doesn’t matter if you grew up in the same house, and it doesn’t matter if you have the same last name. When your family business is winning Super Bowl rings, the stakes are raised and you’re expected to win at all costs. STOP, it’s Manning time.

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Houston, Ya’ll Have A Problem

WOW! What a resounding turnaround for the boys in blue and gold. After a humiliating home opener loss against the Stanford Cardinal last weekend and a brutal week in the media, the 2010 Bruins came roaring back to life. The number 23 Houston Cougars took some serious hits during their 31-13 loss at the hands of the Bruins on Saturday night, including losing their first and second string quarterbacks for the season. Through the first two weeks of the season, teams, as well as the media, showed no mercy in beating up on the Bruins (as they should have). Luckily, that was put to an end… for at least a week.

This week it was UCLA who showed no mercy, especially the defense which, produced interceptions by Akeem Ayers and Rahim Moore. The Bruins’ tackling game came back to life lead by Patrick Larimore who racked up seven tackles, one of which forced a fumble. Houston’s starting quarterback, Case Keenum went down for the second straight week and this time it was for good. After UCLA linebacker Ayers picked off his pass near the goal line, Keenum attempted to stop the 77-yard return and ended up leaving the Rosebowl on a golf cart with a torn ACL. Keenum’s backup, Cotton Turner, left the game after suffering what is being reported as a broken collarbone. Um, oops… The injury to Keenum ended his Heisman Trophy campaign and the injury to Turner forced Houston to burn the redshirt of freshman Terrance Broadway. Not that I am happy people got hurt (obviously), but it’s nice to see our defense spark something, get physical and make a difference.

The 31 points put up on the board by the Bruins was mostly in part to Kevin Prince who passed for 99 yards and rushed for 60 including a TD and Johnathan Franklin who had a career performance, rushing for 158 yards and three touchdowns. A full week of training clearly helped KP knock some rust off and build confidence who should have another full week of practice before heading to Austin this next weekend to take on the Longhorns. The pistol offense seemed to be firing on more cylinders than in previous weeks leading to a gritty, hard earned victory in front of the Rosebowl faithful.

I’m not gonna lie, I was expecting a lethargic crowd… but I was wrong. Last night, the Rosebowl was a special place again. It was full of life, energy, and smiles. Eight-claps and BRUIN spell-outs were abundant and I heard the fight song more times than I can ever remember. The sidelines, as well as the fans, were energized and vocal throughout the whole game. (I don’t have a voice today due to cheering my lungs out from the first row the ENTIRE game.) I was down on the field before the game watching Neu throw rocket passes to his receivers (he’s still got it people!) and I could already feel it. There was just something in the air that made me feel the excitement and believe in the blue and gold. I actually tweeted a picture from the field with the caption”feeling it.” Watching the guys come together, look inspired, and bust out an exceptional performance against a tough Cougar team was a thing to behold. Leaving the Rosebowl a winner is definitely something I could get used to. It’s nice to wake up on a Sunday morning and not be suffering from a football hangover. Who knows what the future will bring, but for this week Westwood will relish in a much needed victory.

Now, it’s definitely time to keep things in perspective and stay extremely focused. Going into a wild atmosphere inAustin, Texas and with school starting for UCLA this Thursday, the mental discipline needs to be ratcheted up a notch. Of course, the team and the fans are juiced after bringing the 2010 season back from the dead but it is important to remember that this game was one of many. The intensity, fire, and motivation of last night needs to be brought to EVERY game. “All of us had a chip on the shoulder coming into this game,” said running back Johnathan Franklin (Jet Ski). That needs to be an eternal chip. We need to bring the aggression every game, and no matter what happens next weekend against the undefeated, top ten Longhorn team, there is still a season to play and games to win. Flashback to 1997: The Bruins lost their first two games to one conference and one non-conference team (as they did this year) and went on to rout Houston and Texas the following two weeks (look who is on the schedule for this weekend, and we just crushed Houston…) Oh, and by the way those two victories sparked a 20-game winning streak. Let’s hope for some deja vu, huh?

After practice on Friday, I am hopping on a plane to Austin to support my Bruins against the Longhorns! It’s my home state, how could I not go?! But don’t worry I will be ROCKING my blue and gold in that sea of burnt orange and screaming my lungs out… trust me, for a little person, I can be abnormally loud. My parents are driving up from Dallas to meet me there and I am super excited to see them as well! Be on the look out for a blog and pictures following that game. Go Bruins!

WIN, LOSE, OR TIE, I’M A BRUIN ‘TIL THE DAY I DIE.

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Bruins Take DC!

Disclaimer: This is a blog about a personal experience, so don’t be looking for any opinions on anything 🙂

Back in April the UCLA Gymnastics team won the NCAA national championship and I was fortunate enough to be a part of that extraordinary team. It was, by far, the most rewarding experience of my 19 yearlong gymnastics career. It is impossible to adequately describe how unbelievable it feels to have the work, blood, sweat, tears, heart, trust, and soul of a team pay off in the end. My teammates and I were fortunate enough to be invited to Washington DC to meet the President at the White House along with the UCLA softball team who also won a national championship this year. This blog entry is my account of our day in DC, which can also be seen at UCLABruins.com:

We had a fun-filled PACKED day in Washington! This morning we had an amazing tour of Congress. We started off walking around the Capitol building and taking tons of pictures including the gymnasts taking a handstand picture (naturally) on the back steps which, was sweet! The softball girls were not down for a handstand picture… I don’t know why! Then we headed down into Congress where the first security guy’s nametag read: A. Taylor. Per usual, I got really excited and spastic. He was definitely not excited and proceeded to continue telling me the strict rules I was to follow once inside. The first stop on our tour was a 15-minute movie that showed the resilience of the American people and was incredibly historically inspiring. Then we met up with our tour guide, Rich, who took both our team and the softball team on a fascinating tour through the House of Representatives and the Senate. We got to see the original rooms for both houses as well as the rooms they use today. The detail in every room is unbelievable from the paintings down to the moldings. Fun fact: the current home for the House of Representatives has a monstrous dictionary near the front podium and the observation deck chairs are blue and gold.

After our morning tour we were taken back to the hotel to clean up a bit and get our stuff together to check out of the hotel. After loading all 50+ Bruins back on to the bus we were off on our last tour of DC. Our first stop: food. You can imagine how much goes into a pre-order for a party size that big! Everyone ended up with a full tummy and ready to adventure. Second stop: Jefferson Memorial. We were allowed to get off the bus and explore the memorial for about a half hour and, trust me, we took full advantage of it! Let me tell you, pictures galore. Next stop: Lincoln Memorial. We all loved the Lincoln Memorial because of the amazing view you get of our nation’s capital from the steps. The reflection pool, the Washington Monument in the distance, the Capitol… it was mesmerizing. We ran into the fencing student-athletes from Penn State at the Lincoln Memorial and we exchanged duties of photographing the other in front of Big Abe Lincoln. Finally, it was off to the White House!

We arrived pretty early so we hung out and chatted with some of the super friendly White House staff for a bit. The other teams started to filter in and we were instructed to line up in three lines to start our journey through security. We went through three ID checks, a metal detector, and a bout with a security wand. They were NOT messing around! Once on official White House grounds we hit a bit of a snag. Our international athletes were required to have a form of government issued identification… Marci has a California ID card. Aisha went back to get her passport from the bus. But unfortunately, Hoppy didn’t bring her passport and was not allowed inside the grounds. We were all SO upset. How were we supposed to go in without Hoppy?! Miss Val and Petrina tried their hardest to lobby for Hop, but they were no match for the Secret Service. There were dudes with guns that we were sure could take us down in .2 seconds everywhere (not to mention the super sniper on the roof of the White House), so we decided not to push it J After the unfortunate mix-up, we took a team picture in front of the White House and then were allowed to mingle with the other student-athletes on the front lawn. The NCAA men’s gymnastics champions were the Wolverines from the University of Michigan so a few of us got to see some gymnast friends that we hadn’t seen in forever which, was super fun. There were delicious cookies and, thankfully, some delicious lemonade, iced tea, and water. I’m telling ya’ll, it was hot and humid out there so the refreshments were greatly appreciated. We snapped another team picture on the front steps of the White House. It was so cool to have a bunch of other teams there with us! Coach I from the softball team was running around encouraging us to introduce ourselves to everybody, so of course I had to talk a little smack to the USC Men’s Water Polo Team because they barely edged out our boys for the championship, and duh, they’re from SC. I also gave the University of South Carolina Baseball (also, USC. Weird, huh?! I mean what IS it about “USCs” and the Bruins?!) team a hard time because they also just beat out the Bruins in the championship round of the College World Series. It was all in good fun, though, we enjoyed ribbing each other a little. We continued to snap and then, all of the sudden, the band started playing “We Are The Sons of Westwood,” and our entire party went nuts. Don’t worry we absolutely did a full out 8-clap right there on the White House lawn. It was SO amazing, totally gave me the goosebumps.

And then, Mr. President Barrack Obama himself appeared and strode to a podium set up next to the band. He warmly welcomed us and gave a several minute speech about what it means to be a student-athlete and congratulated the teams on their accomplishments. Following his speech he stepped off the podium towards the horde of student-athletes and the crowd surged forward… Like being in a dance club times 30. I was luckily enough to maneuver my way through people MUCH bigger than me (being low to the ground helps) and shake the President’s hand. He told me he liked gymnastics! I was STOKED! Several other girls on the team got the opportunity to shake his hand as well. Everyone had to wait to leave the grounds until Mr. President was back inside for obvious security reasons, and as we were walking out John Kerry popped up! Pretty cool.

We hit the pavement to the airport with our bus driver, Percy, for our red-eye flight back to LA with a bus full of happy, honored, and sleepy Bruins. Upon arrival at our gate, Niki graciously lent her Blackberry charger to one of the Boston College hockey guys and we met Edward Lawrence who is a TV reporter for CBS. (He took a picture with Miss Val and Chris and tweeted about hanging out with us!) We are now in pre-season training camp up in Tehachapi, CA… Watch out world, we are already working for that 2011 national championship!

It was an all-around extraordinary trip for everybody involved, and we decided that we were going to do everything we could to come back next year. We all really enjoyed getting to know the softball team better and sharing this experience with them. GO BRUINS!

Check out some pictures from the trip:

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Dallas Cowboys: Super Bowl Curse Killers?

Call it a jinx, call it a curse… but of the 44 Super Bowls that have been played, 37 Super Bowls games have been played in NFL stadiums and NOT ONCE has the home field team been out there competing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I can’t help but believe in some sports “curses “and superstitions. I mean, I’m not crazy about my own superstitions, but I do have some things I do before and during all of my competitions, just makes me feel better. Anyways, exhibit A: the Sports Illustrated curse. According to the myth, after an individual or a team has been featured on the front of the magazine they are doomed to experience bad luck. Now obviously not EVERYONE is affected by the SI curse (Michael Jordan had a record 49 cover appearances and it clearly didn’t affect his performance), but the list of notable bouts with bad luck following a cover appearance is somewhat extensive and impossible to ignore:

  • June 2010: Basbeall player Stephen Strasburg. Later that week was injured, put on the DL, and required Tommy John surgery.
  • April 2010: Yankees “Core Four” (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada). Within a week of their cover, Rivera, Pettitte, and Posada suffered injuries.
  • February 2010: Downhill skier Lindsey Vonn. The gold-medal hopeful suffered a serious shin injury the same week she appeared on the cover.
  • January 2010: Brett Favre and Mark Sanchez. Both lost their Division Championship games.
  • January 2010: Miles Austin. The Cowboys lost their divisional playoff game that Saturday.

… and those are just from this year. I’m serious, the list goes on and on. So, back to the 2010 Super Bowl. Only 5 would-be Super Bowl hosts have even made the playoffs. Only 2 of those teams have even won a playoff game. No host has ever reached the divisional championship game. Ouch.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year, BUT Dallas is hosting this year’s big game in Cowboys Stadium/The Death Star/Jerry World which, could make things difficult. Owner Jerry Jones has made it no secret that he is adamant about his ‘Boys breaking the 0-37 Super Bowl record. However, after a much less than stellar pre-season it is clear that “America’s Team” has a long road ahead of them before they become “America’s SUPER BOWL WINNING Team.” The primary concern is the age and depth (or lack thereof) of the offensive line. The four returning starters are at least 31 years old and right tackle Marc Colombo is out with a knee injury. Having a vicious O-Line is so important to a team’s success, ask any QB in the league. Uncertainty at kicker can greatly affect the confidence of a team and even though the Cowboys have confidence in David Buehler after an impressive pre-season and training camp, he still has to prove himself in the regular season. Buehler was inconsistent on field goals at USC (Ew!) and even though he has one of the strongest legs in the league was passed up for the kicking position in Dallas last year when kicker Nick Folk caught a case of the yips. This year, the Cowboys are keeping an ex-kicker on staff to continue to work with Buehler on his technique and mental approach this season. Staying healthy is also a huge component for a team to get to the Super Bowl. Can injury prone running back Felix Jones and receiver Dez Bryant stay healthy enough to have a positive impact? Hammys, knees, toes, ankles, OH MY! Another point: the Cowboys have GOT to take advantage of their trips to the red zone. Patrick Crayton, one of Tony Romo’s go-to red zone guys, has been traded and tight ends Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett only combined for 2 TDs last season. Cue, Dez Bryant (hopefully). And the biggest issue for the Cowboys… Super Bowl talk has been swirling since the first snap of training camp. Can the Cowboys handle the hype? Will they be able to handle a difficult regular season schedule? Will they be mentally tough enough to deal with adversity throughout the season? Can their offense get in the zone and start scoring some freaking points (13 points on 12 possessions in pre-season)?

Being a born and raised Dallas girl I’ve always been a Cowboys fan, much to the dislike of many of my friends out here in LA. I think they’re just jealous because they don’t have an official team of their own, but that’s beside the point. I hope the Cowboys can go all the way and break the curse and I think they can with threats at several significant positions. I’m ready to get back to the winning times! Plus, I would just really love so see Jerry World get rockin’ with the ‘Boys playing for it all. It’s going to be a circus no matter what (there are go-go girls dancing in cages during PRE-SEASON games… can you imagine what the Super Bowl is going to be like?!), it would be absolute MADNESS if the home town team was on the field. 2010 NFL Season… bring it on, DALLAS IS READY!

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What in the Name of Bill Snyder Just Happened?!

The Bill Snyder obsessed city of Manhattan, KS (might as well be Bill Snyder, KS) was too much for the Bruins on opening weekend. Hopefully there are better days to come for the boys in blue and gold. The 31-22 loss on Saturday was a tough pill to swallow for coaches, players, and fans alike. Through the screaming sea of purple cladded Wildcats fans the Bruins showed both moments of brilliance and moments lacking focus. The premiere of the Bruins’ rendition of the pistol offense proved promising and protected quarterback Kevin Prince appropriately thanks to the performance of the offensive line. Having seven new starters on defense seemed to impact the Bruins on Saturday giving up 313 yards on the ground, 234 to potential Big 12 player of the year Daniel Thomas who also racked up 2 TDs. An improvement regarding tackling is obvious seeing as several integral tackles were missed. A bright spot for the defense was linebacker Patrick Larimore who had seven tackles, one of which was a sack for a loss. Linebacker As expected, Akeem Ayers also looked like a reliable go-to-guy on the defensive side of the ball, minus the late hit he administered which, gave the Wildcats 15 yards that led to an eventual touchdown. The other damaging penalty, an illegal participation on the Bruins in the first quarter, allowed Kansas State an extra shot at the endzone and it resulted in their first touchdown of the game. Offensively, the receivers will look to be a little bit more consistent next game which, to me, for these guys is more of a mental than a physical change that needs to be made. The receivers are strong, quick, and crazy athletic, their mental game just needs to be dialed in. Punter Jeff Locke, affectionately known as Jefe to his special team comrades, dropped a 60 yard bomb that pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory and preceded a fumble recovery and touchdown for the Bruins in the second quarter. The ever reliable Kai Forbath went 3 for 3, connecting from 44, 42, and 35 yards after being questionable for the game due to a nagging groin injury. Forbath has now made 40 consecutive field goals inside the 50.

Clearly improvements need to be made for the Bruins to be consistent and successful, but an article that was written in the LA Times following the matchup with the Wildcats was excessively critical of… well, everything. Not only did the author bash on our mistakes throughout the game, but he was particularly critical of the way the Bruins carried themselves which, is something that all Bruins pride themselves on. The claim that the defense was sitting on the sidelines neglecting their offensive teammates on the field… ridiculous. The defense knew they were going back into the game so they were preparing for their next drive by getting play calls from their coach. The JUDGMENTAL observation made regarding how the Wildcats line up and run into the lockeroom together where the Bruins do not (which he thought was unprofessional and selfish) was unnecessary. Nothing against the Wildcats but I’m pretty sure the majority of NCAA teams do not run into the lockeroom like a line of kindergardeners. And really, you’re going to compare the Wildcats to the kids in “Remember the Titans?” REALLY?! I don’t know why this guy is such a Bruin hater, but I do not appreciate it. The first line read: “UCLA is embarrassing.” As someone who is painfully loyal and proud of her team, and her university in general, I took serious offense to that. “Or, is it always something with the Bruins, which really is the mark of a .500 program, only an excuse here or there from being something else?” Ummm… last time I checked nobody affiliated with the Bruins organization was making (or has ever made) excuses as to why we lost. Sure we have work to do, but it was unfair and irrational to be making these assumptions and claims after THE FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON! Calm down sir and bite your tongue or we’re going to have some serious problems.

The Bruins will spend this week preparing for their first conference game, the home opener against the highly touted Stanford University. The last two seasons the Bruins have had three weeks before jumping into battles against Pac-10 opponents giving them more time to work out early season kinks. This season they had one (rough) one. The concern for the Bruins is comparative fatigue due to the fact that Stanford easily steamrolled over their week one opponent Sacramento State 52-17, whereas the Bruins were involved in a dogfight where they kicked, screamed, and clawed their way to a tough loss. I’m going to take Rick Neuheisel’s advice and continue to be “relentlessly positive” about our team, deck myself out in blue and gold, show up early to the RoseBowl this coming Saturday, and scream my heart out for the Bruins! I believe, Bru!

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Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gon’ Do?

Earlier this year the Pittsburgh Steelers starting QB Big Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student while at a bar in Milledgeville, GA. The accuser claimed Roethlisberger encouraged her and her friends to take numerous alcoholic shots before cornering her in the ladies room and assaulting her against her will. Obviously, Roethlisberger denied all accusations. The case proved to be messy, but in the end Big Ben was not formally charged on any accounts, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for the first six games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL’s “personal conduct” rules. The comish had said he would consider reducing the suspension if Roethlisberger attended league-mandated counseling sessions, adhered to league rules, and stayed out of trouble. Today that six-game suspension slapped on Big Ben Roethlisberger back in April has now been reduced to four games.

I THINK THIS IS OUT-FREAKING-RAGEOUS. I can’t tell if Roethlisberger is actually a rapist or if he is just stupid for getting himself into this kind of situation, but either way I think the six game suspension should have stood. “Oh, you didn’t jump on any women in the past six months? Great job Ben! You get to play two weeks earlier!” Are you kidding me? For any regular person in this kind of situation they are absolutely going to jail and for Big Ben… well, his suspension gets reduced which, to me, is sending yet another message that an “entitled” athlete can get away with murder. Letting him off is just enabling him to continue his demeaning attitude towards women which, apparently, he has been doing since his college days. WAKE UP CALL BEN! You’re a professional athlete (AND A HUMAN) in the spotlight, that kind of behavior is unacceptable. I just have never gotten a good vibe from this dude and now he’s getting rewarded for “behaving.” On another note, during his four game suspension Ben is not allowed to practice with the Steelers, attend games, have contact with teammates/coaches, or represent the team in any way. I’m thinking that unstructured, free time away from football is probably not going to be the best thing. Big Ben doesn’t have problems on the field, he has problems off the field. But, what do I know, right? Oh, by the way, Roethlisberger was also accused of sexual assault in 2008… Does anyone else see a creeptastic trend here, or is it just me?

On to Badboy #2: Jeremiah Masoli. The University of Oregon’s starting QB was dismissed from the team this past spring after being arrested for possession of marijuana. Masoli was still on the team despite previously pleading guilty to burglary, but after the weed incident and driving with a suspended license, head coach Chip Kelly had had enough. Masoli transferred to Ole Miss as a graduate student who had one year of athletic eligibility remaining. Under NCAA rules if a student-athlete transfers from one university to another following a dismissal, they are required to warm the bench for a year. Masoli submitted a waiver to the NCAA this summer on the grounds that he was entering graduate school at Ole Miss and that his major was “not offered at Oregon.” Initially, he was not granted permission to play for the Rebels in the 2010 season, but today the NCAA overruled themselves and made the decision that Masoli is immediately eligible to play. I’m sorry… didn’t you get DISMISSED for being arrested, TWICE? It’s not like this guy was unhappy at Oregon or was looking to move closer to home, he got kicked off the team! But yeah, you’re right NCAA, this badboy should definitely get to play. Frustrating!

Badboy sidebars:

  • The Washington Nationals’ centerfielder Nyjer Morgan has been suspended eight games and fined an undisclosed amount on top of his previous seven game suspension for three wild incidents over the past week. 1.) August 21: Morgan intentionally throws a ball at a fan in the stands. 2.) August 31: Morgan runs over a catcher, when a slide was the obvious choice, and separates the catcher’s shoulder. 3.) September 1: Morgan charges the mound after a HBP and having a ball thrown behind him inducing a bench-clearing brawl. After the vicious dogpile was taken apart he was lead off the field with his jersey ripped open and arrogantly taunting the crowd. Come on man, control yourself. I know you’re a little guy, but come on man, figure out a different way to portray yourself as tough.
  • At least twelve UNC football players are suspended for the Tar Heels 2010 season opener due to misconduct regarding professional agents and allegedly turning in papers that were written by tutors. So much for a promising season.

For real, people? Just because you’re an athlete doesn’t mean you get to act like a total bonehead. If anything you should be more aware of your behavior because being in a constant spotlight everything you do or say is looked at under a microscope. Plus, people look up to you! You are given an amazing opportunity to be a role model, USE IT FOR GOOD, NOT EVIL!

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Ochocinc-NOOOOO!

Let’s be real, everyone is excited, or at least interested, in seeing how Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Ochouno are going to co-exist in Cincy. PS: I know Terrell Owens hasn’t changed his name to Ochouno, I just still find it hysterical that Chad changed his name to his jersey number and I have taken it upon myself to call this athletically freakish twosome Los Ochos Locos. Will their current placid partnership last and help the Kitties to a Super Bowl ring OR will both of these ego-maniacal, loud mouthed, spotlight seeking wide receivers clash and be a detriment to the chemistry of their team? Personally, I am leaning more towards the latter. I just can’t see either one of these guys wanting to share the spotlight for the good of their team.

Anyways, apparently, Chad Ochocinco is more than ready for the upcoming NFL season… and he’s letting everybody in on his master plan. Mr. #85 already has a big plan for his self-expected first TD in the Bengals first regular season game against the New England Patriots. During home football games in Gillette Stadium there are Minutemen standing behind each end zone prepared to fire their rifles in celebration when the Pats score in order to recognize the history in the New England region. Ochocinco tweeted in anticipation of their season opener announcing that when (uhhh… how about if?) he scores a touchdown he will be taking a gun from one of the Minutemen and firing it to kick of his season with a BANG. If I’m one of the fans sitting near the end zone and Ochocinco scores… I would absolutely be ducking and covering, who knows what could go wrong! After watching Cirque de Ochocinco the past few years, it doesn’t surprise me that he already has a plan regarding celebrations. So, prepare yourselves for a Week 1 show and for the NFL to strike down a hefty Week 1 fine. Of course ya’ll have to remember that’s IF Ochocinco even gets into the endzone. Dear God, help us.

Maybe he is trying to break the record for the first player to get fined during the 2010 season. Wait a second… he already got fined $25,000 for Tweeting during a pre-season game. Nevermind the 90 minute pre-game through post-game obligations rules about technological communication (which, duh, includes social networking sites), Ochocinco said “Screw that!” and Tweeted during the Bengals pre-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles about a rough hit he took. But don’t worry, he apologized… through Twitter. ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME MAN?! The antics are getting out of control. How about you let your play do the talking instead of your actual mouth via Twitter or a reality TV show. Let’s take a look back at a couple notable Ochocinco No-No’s:

  • “The Bribe”- $20,000: Ochocinco is fined for flashing a dollar bill at a referee during a replay challenge in an attempt to jokingly “bribe” the ref.
  • “The Poncho & Sombrero”- $30,000: After scoring a touchdown Ochocinco donned a sombrero and a poncho as part of his celebration.

Who knows what this season will bring, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!

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