Archive for the ‘College Sports’ Category


LaMichael James Brings Speed To San Francisco's Backfield

What’s up sports fans? Well I owe my readers another apology. I haven’t been writing lately, and they probably want to know why. Well as you probably know I don’t get paid to put together my blogs. So I do have to work for a living. But I do enjoy putting together a good sports piece, especially when they’re juicy. With everything that’s been going on trust me, I’ve got plenty to write about. What with The Sharks bowing out in the first round, Warriors appearing to tank their season to get the first round pick, and Aubrey Huff having anxiety issues with the Giants, all of which are juicy pieces to write about.

But, today nothing is more juicier right now than this piece. As you NFL aficionados may have already been drooling over the NFL Draft selections, you may have found out that San Francisco picked up LaMichael James at running back in the fourth round. Yes that same LaMichael James that ran for almost 7,000 yards in his career and last year continued to be a pivotal opponent against the Stanford Cardinal, handing Stanford two losses last season against the Oregon Ducks. Now I don’t know about you but when you look at the fact that San Francisco picked up former New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, and Wide receiver Mario Manninham, who both have Superbowl rings. Not to mention they got Randy Moss if they need him.

It starts to make you think, hmm…  Do you kind of seeing where I’m going with this? It starts to make you wonder if the Niners are stock piling a arsenal to battle next season for NFC tile. I have to admit as far as the Niners got last season I’m sure a lot of players want to play here in the Bay Area now. But let’s get serious here for a moment.  This is also happening not just because of  good drafting, it’s because Jed York the Owner of the Niners is doing something he knows he has to do. See Jed, along with the Niner organization, have made serious concessions to bring a brand new 49er stadium to the city of Santa Clara, and if you do that your franchise needs to win ball games.

It’s one thing to lobby for something with a hefty bill, but if you do that and your franchise isn’t winning, your public won’t listen to you, and you give the critics all the ammunition they need to say no to the hefty bill your asking people to help pay for. So are the Niners gearing up to capture the NFC title? Sure, why not? They have to do it anyway. And besides with the title in hand it sends a message to the buying public of the new stadium, and the critics that building a new stadium in Santa Clara was a fantastic idea. “Look, were winning”. We Niners fans won’t argue that point. But I’m still trying to understand how they got LaMichael James. His career stats alone prove that any team in their right mind would’ve wanted this guy.

I understand it’s all part of the drafting system. I just thought he would’ve ended up in St. Louis or even Seattle. Afterall Seattle and Oregon or more geographically situated than down here in San Francisco. Well, on any rate we get LaMichael James speed here in the Bay Area. And are we happy? Yeah, we are. Go San Francisco !!! Do you think LaMichael James can make an impact right away or do you think it’s going to have to take some time for him to adjust to Harbaugh’s system. I want to hear from you. Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!

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What’s up sports fans? Well it began with thoughts of good expectations and it finished with excepting history. The Cal Bears were thinking they could wash away old history against the USC Trojans with a victory. It would’ve been easier to forget the 7 ugly losses they had to experience in seasons past. Unfortunately it was history repeating itself. The Bears turned the ball over five times allowing the Trojans to run away with this one early. I’m sure it wasn’t the script that head coach Jeff Tedford had in mind.  “You can’t beat a good football team like SC when you turn the football over five times, especially down deep in their territory,” Tedford said. “There’s no question there is some good things, but there are some things that absolutely need to be improved.” The one thing that Cal needs to improve on is their defense.

The Bears continue to give up to many points. When you put a magnifying glass on their season the Bears have a problem with shutting down offenses, even when they win. That was fine by Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin, “We needed that,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “It was much more important for this team to win like that and have a game like that for confidence after all the things our defense has been hearing about them, staff, players, everybody involved. To come out here and get five turnovers and harass the quarterback all game long was really good.” Cal’s starting quarterback Zach Maynard threw for 294 yards and his sibling Keenan Allen produced 160 yards on 13 catches. You’d think with that much production the Bears would’ve had a little better showing in this game. The problem was all the mistakes the made against USC’s defense.

“They played lights out tonight, no doubt about that,” Barkley said of his defense. “They really helped us out on the offensive side of the ball. … We struggled a little bit on offense, but we protected the ball and they didn’t. Ultimately that helped us come out on top.” Of those 5 turnovers 4 of them came in the first half alone, which set the tone for a long night for Cal. The game got so lop sided that Kiffin thought he could even try a trick play, which really showed how they didn’t respect Cal’s defense, but it didn’t pay off. The Trojans ended up turning the ball over and the Bears recovered the ball on the 8 yard line. “That’s no fun,” Kiffin said. “You’re on ESPN. You have to do something fun.” The Bears dominated in total yards, and passing yards. But USC took over the ground game producing 118 yards rushing.

The Trojans turned the ball over twice which was their mistake, but they controlled the time of possession with 19 minutes total to Cal’s 9 minutes. Cals run game was invisible with only nineteen yards on the ground. What’s also noticeable is that they don’t seem to be trying to get creative with their run game. They’re weren’t trying to send their runningbacks out in the flat for catches or use them as receivers. In the end Cal will have to find away to upgrade their defense and bring precision to their offense, because it’s becoming a view from opposing teams that they know their going to beat Cal it’s just a matter of how to beat them, and it’s has to be hurting the teams moral. “I tried to force the ball on a couple plays,” Maynard said. “There’s a lot of mental errors. We’ve got to get better on our check downs and make a better play.”

The Bears have Utah next week, and they still have some games to play. Not to mention the ever popular 114th BIG GAME against cross peninsula rival Andrew Luck and The Stanford Cardinal. Hopefully this season will give them a template of some of the changes they will need to make the Bears more competitive for next year. Think they can bounce back or is this the tempo of Cal’s season? Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!


 

What’s up sports fans? Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal continue in their quest to take the PAC – 12 title. They would have to get by Oregon State to receive that title. In the beginning Stanford struggled. In what has been a season of late offensive pushes for the Cardinal. They’ve definitely been a second half team most of the season. It showed against Oregon State, because by the third quarter Stanford was winning but not by much. They were ahead 17-13 and it appeared that the Beavers would make it a contest. Until the Cardinal let a waterfall of offense destroying the Beavers Dam. Stanford went on the win it 38 – 13. Andrew Luck threw for 3 TD’s and 206 yards.

Resilient Luck performed well in the rain and cold to give his team the win. “I think we have a mature football team,” Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck said. “We understood it could be a trap game sandwiched between two great teams but I think our football team is mature enough to understand that if we don’t win this game the rest of the games don’t matter.” He’s right about one thing, if  Stanford loses a game the rest won’t matter, because in the NCAA no team in the country will be scrutinized more by a loss in the BCS than Stanford. Alabama, LSU, or any team in the ACC, Big East, or Big Ten can lose a game and still get the No. 1 ranking and the BCS Championship, but not the Cardinal. If Stanford wants the BCS title they will have to be perfect. We all know that isn’t fair, but that’s how east coast wants it. Hey let’s keep it real.

The east coast decides who gets national titles in college sports, not here in the west coast. The only west coast team that won a national title in the last 20 years has been USC. That’s it. No other west coast football team has won that coveted title, and the reason why is because of the power rankings. It’s true Stanford has a great chance this year and the win against Oregon State move them even closer to the possibility of getting a national title. But until they go undefeated they are going to be only in the top ten. Because that’s the way the BCS will place them and allow teams in the east coast like LSU, Alabama, Ohio State or even Florida to all ways be considered a higher ranked school when it comes to college football. It must be frustrating to head coach David Shaw. He and his team are going to be more frustrated because the win came at a huge loss when Chris Owusu was injured on a hit from Oregon State’s cornerback Jordan Poyer helmet to helmet.

“It was a bang-bang play. The ref saw helmet-to-helmet contact. He’s going to make that call every time,” Poyer said. With Owusu out Luck is going to need someone who can fill his shoes, and we have to admit that is a task that isn’t going to be easy. Owusu draws defenses and allow Luck to hit other targets. Without Chris Owusu Stanford’s offensive depth won’t be as strong. Plus the timing of this loss is crucial. The Cardinal has No. 9 Oregon next week. Think they can stay unbeaten or will they fall to the Ducks? Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!


 

What’s up sports fans? After a 3-0 start for the Cal Bears their future for this season was looking as golden as they are.  They had beat up on visiting Presbytarin, but now they had a real test in a PAC -12 contender with No. 9 Oregon. I have to say it wasn’t pretty. My statement might have seemed a little ironic. Because in the beginning of the game Cal looked like they might actually contend pretty well with the Ducks. And that’s because they managed to put together a pretty decent defensive stop on the Ducks and took over on downs on the Ducks own 41 yard line. When they got possession of the ball Zach Maynard took the Cal’s offense and scored on a 12 yard pass to Cal’s Keenan Allen. Allen had a big day. He caught 9 passes for 170 yards, but wasn’t happy with his teams performance, “They scored. We kicked field goals,”.

What is also interesting is now that Cal is playing some of their opponents in their own division, speculators will wonder if Cal’s winning in the beginning of the season is because they weren’t playing any real competition. For the Bears it really isn’t a subject they want to discuss. Regardless of what Cal was thinking the Ducks made sure that there would be no speculation about how they would play the Bears. Oregon put up 563 total yards against the Cal’s defense.  Oregon’s Darron Thomas put 198 on the pass and Oregon ground game anything short of excellent. They ran the ball to produce 365 yards. Cal did have a good passing day though, producing 321 yards in the air. What was bad for the Ducks is that Lamichael James injured his arm and didn’t comeback in the game. He wasn’t sure if he’ll be able to play against No. 22 Arizona State but he didn’t rule it out, “We’re gonna wait and see,” he said. “We have the best trainers in the country and I’m sure they are going to get on it ASAP and I’ll be there four times a day so I can get on that field.”

The Bears simply aren’t solid enough to contend with more of big name schools. As soon as they enter into the top ten teams in the country that’s where they struggle. With the struggles they’ve been having it’s causing head coach Jeff Tedford and his coaching staff scrambling for answers. Answers he couldn’t give. When asked if the Bears could finish off the season strong, he just shook his head in a “No” motion and walked away.  One of the things I notice is that they don’t have much of a running game. One thing I remember from my days of playing is that the offense has to be diverse. The reason why is you want to keep the defense guessing. You can’t do that if your offense is one dimension with just the pass or just the run. They have the pass but they have no run game. They could also use a stiffer defense, particularly in the pass rush department. It’s just my take on the game, what’s your take? Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!


 

What’s up sports fan? Well we’ve watched Stanford appear to be not human when it plays it’s opponents this season. Mainly because really they haven’t had any real competition. But as good as they’ve been playing the collegiate sports world has been labeling them as average. Let’s face it in all my years of watching college football I’ve never in my life seen a team go unbeaten and go from a No. 4 spot in the country to the No. 8 ranking. Unfortunately for our local Stanford football team they are the first to do it. It wasn’t until they beat Washington 65-21 last week that they were ranked No. 8. And maybe it was a mix up in the BCS selection process. I’m writing this and some of you out there probably didn’t catch it when it happened. In any event I listened to KCBS this morning and they had David Shaw commenting on the how they were resilient when they needed to be. That’s exactly what they needed to do to beat USC.

The Trojans were definitely prepared for a competitive game against Stanford’s offense. At one point USC led and it appeared that they would beat the Cardinal, and Andrew Luck for once appeared to be human. He actually threw a interception.  Head coach Shaw stated on the KCBS Sports Desk that he saw Luck seething over his mistake but right after that went to every member of the team and told them, ” Were going to win this game. Don’t worry. Were going to win this game.” David Shaw said, ” After he threw that inception, he hated it. It killed him to make that error. But then he just went to his teammates and let them know he wasn’t going to let them down.  It’s been his resolve his whole college career.  Andrew Luck is a fierce competitor, and I’m just glad he’s on our side. I wouldn’t want to have job of having to coach against him.”

With the Cardinal playing the way they are this season it makes you wonder how this win feels to the starting quarterback, “I might need a couple minutes to digest it, but it’s definitely up there,” Luck said when asked where the night ranked among his football memories. “More than anything, I’m just happy to get a win.” Andrew Luck and Stanford have been doing more than just getting a win. They are now 8-0, and in sole posession of first place in the Pac-12, and they could easily argue for the national title. He was so mad at himself,” said David Shaw “He wasn’t going to let that play lose the game for us. … We put the ball in our quarterback’s hands, put it on his shoulders, and the kid came through.” Luck finished 29-40 for 330 yards, 3 TD’s and 1 int.  Both teams scored in overtime and it just seemed that the team that would lose composure was going to lose the game. It’s hard to watch because really both teams played well except, “No excuse, I just fumbled,” said McNeal,  “I feel like beating myself up, but I’ve just got to keep pushing. I’m going to face worse things in life. I just have to keep my head up.”

Stanford’s dingy defense forced Curtis McNeal to cough up the ball and give the Cardinal the win.  Both teams produced a total  of 948 yards of total offense. Stanford with 516 and USC with 432. The Cardinal remain unbeaten and we’ve just learned that they have moved up in the BCS ranking’s to No. 4 in the country. It does appear that they are on a collision course with No. 6 Oregon. Think they can win the PAC – 12 title? Or are the analysts correct that the other universities like Alabama and LSU are the powerhouses in the BCS? Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified.


Jeff Tedford Receives Commemorative 75 Jersey From Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barber.

 

 

What’s up sports fans? The Golden Bears of California have kept their bid for the PAC-12 title by literally running over Presbytarian 63-12. It was interesting watching football played at AT&T Park. The water cannons which were normally used for Giants games were now being used for the Cal Bears. Every time they scored water got shot out those cannons. Which if your a Bears fan it was something extra added to the normal game. This was a game that in my opinion that didn’t need all the fanfare that it received. If the Bears were playing a division rival or maybe if there was something on the line then it would’ve been more interesting. Cal did give Jeff Tedford his 75th win.

It also made him the winningest coach in Cal football  history surpassing Andy Smith who had the record since 1925. When Isi Sofele wasn’t tearing up the ground game Zach Maynard was throwing bombs in the air. Sofele scored twice and had 105 yards rushing. Maynard was 15-25 for 215 yards and threw three touchdowns. He did have one interception, and it was picked off by Presbytarian’s Justin Bethel. Bethel also blocked a punt and ran it in for a touchdown. But it was all California Golden Bears at AT&T. They had good reason for playing there even though it seemed kinda weird. Cal’s Memorial Stadium is being retro-fitted for safety. It’s costs $321 million dollars to complete the work. So even though the work at the Stadium must go on, so does the Cal Bears football season.

Cal also had a kick returned for a score by Brendan Bigelow. You kinda started to feel bad for Presbytarian. Here they are all the way from South Carolina in California home of the defending World Champions AT&T Park with Cal Bears fans who were also Giants fans, I’m sure the Blue Hose felt outnumbered. Really there’s not much to write about in this one. It began pretty much the way it ended. Cal was just too much for the Blue Hose and I think they just wanted to get out of AT&T Park with their dignity. Because everything else they came with the Bears took with them. The closing ceremony was nice though. Tedford receiving a number 75 jersey to commemorate his 75 wins from Athletic Director Sandy Barber. What is noticeable is that Presbytarian isn’t in their division and isn’t even in the top 25 ap poll. Not to mention they have next week Furman. Why is Cal getting these schools that aren’t even ranked or in the top 25? This would be interesting. Since Stanford is top ranked in the country the teams opponents are more competitive and it would make you make one wonder, does Cal have the easy road to the PAC-12 title?  One might think that.

But when you look at their schedule their next six games are going to be tough, with the exception of Utah. They’ve got Washington, # 10  Oregon, #23 USC, UCLA, Washington State, and Oregon State. And you can’t leave out THE 114th BIG GAME Stanford v.s. Cal for the Axe. So it’s not going to be so easy for them. But me being a Bay Area guy I like to see Cal get a good win. Congratulations to Cal and a great start for the 2011 season. Think Cal can win the PAC-12 championship? Or will they eventually fall. Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!


Andrew Luck and The Stanford Cardinal

Andrew Luck and The Stanford Cardinal

 

 

What’s up sports fans? Another week into the season and Stanford wasn’t about to let anything change from last week. After blowing by the San Jose State Spartans it was time to take on an ACC foe. It was the Duke Blue Devils. What was significant is that this is a school that has made Stanford look pitiful on the basketball court and has pushed Stanford face in it for decades. The Cardinal decided when it comes to boys basketball we’re still working on it. But when it comes to football, Duke, now you get humbled. Humbled with a capital H. Because last Saturday the Stanford Cardinal left Duke wondering what they could try next to stop the 44-14 smack down they received at Raleigh Durham, North Carolina.

“I’ve only been around a couple quarterbacks that see everything,” Shaw said. “He was able to tell us exactly where the safeties were. … I thought he managed the game very well. Early on, we had a couple of protection issues where he had to slide and throw the ball off his back foot.” If you saw the game it just looks like Andrew Luck is just getting better and better with each contest. When he rolls out of the pocket the look in his eye is like a hungry man seeking his dinner. To the new teams in the new PAC-12 this is what you have to look forward to. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a Stanford quarterback that focused since maybe John Elway. Dukes defense wasn’t on time when it came to making plays as well.

“We have to make plays and we weren’t able to do that,” safety Matt Daniels said. “We kind of just broke down. It really didn’t have anything to do with fatigue. We had a lot of missed tackles, a lot of missed assignments.” I would have to say that Stanford had their finger on this game from the beginning and wasn’t going to take it off until the Blue Devils put away their plans of winning. They did that in the beginning of the fourth when Andrew Luck hit Zach Ertz for another score after that Duke really had no answer for the Cardinal. The Cardinal put up 299 yards in the air, and 209 yards on the ground. It was a solid attack for a total of 504 yards. Luck did have one mistake, a pick six from Lee Butler that cost 76 yards for a score for Duke, but other than that it was all Stanford Cardinal football. Luck was 20-28 for 290 yards with 4 touchdown passes.

Chris Owusu had 7 catches for 106 yards. Jeremy Stewart kept things hot for the Cardinal with a 30 yard scamper to the end zone for a score. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe had to try something so the Blue Devils went with a fake punt on a 4 and 7 that worked only to watch it fail because Duke’s field goal kicker missed his second field goal of the day, which allowed he Cardinal to keep Duke in depression type state until the game was all but won. Another triumph for head coach David Shaw, and for Andrew Luck who’s confidence is even felt amongst his teammates.  “I guess you could say Andrew makes a lot of hard throws look easy,” Fleener said. Duke’s starting quarterback Sean Renfree was 19-27 for 179 yards in the loss, it’s something head coach Cutcliffe and his staff are going to have to look at and re-think or re-tool their game plan.

It’s funny the ACC Network when they show the highlights of the game they only show a couple of scores and they aptly show Dukes touchdown, and then they just show you the final score. Trust me if the situation would’ve been reversed they would’ve showed highlights from the entire game. Gotta love the east coast The Cardinal are 2-0 and have Arizona next week. Think they can beat them? Or do you think Arizona can stymie David Shaw’s offense? Tell me what you think. Remember folks it’s ALLBAYAREASPORTS.COM. Bay Area Sports Magnified!