Posts Tagged ‘Allen’

College Football: USC Recruiting News, Views and Updates

July 16th, 2010

While the recruiting machine for USC has slowed considerably after the NCAA handed down it's punishments to the Trojans in June, it has not stopped completely, nor has the recruiting world around USC ceased to turn.

The Trojans continue to selectively offer prep players that they think can fit the more stringent requirements brought about by the specter of reduced scholarships for this recruiting year.

In addition, intriguing developments have taken place with Trojans recruits in other sports that ultimately may effect the football program.

The latest of these involve Vista Murieta's (Ca.) Jovonte Slater , who accepted a full scholarship to run track for the Trojans.

Slater, who had offers from all of the top programs in the country, finished second in the 100 meters, third in the 200 meter, and helped lead his high school to the CIF division one southern section title.

Of course, for Trojans fans, Slater's track performance is only incidental to their focus.

While Slater has gone on record as saying track is his primary interest, it should be noted that he also returned kicks and played running back for his high school football team.

And football is not far from his mind.

According to an article from the Riverside Press Enterprise , Slater has gone on record as saying he plans on giving thought to walking on for the football team in a couple of years.

Yet, with the Trojans facing severe restrictions on available scholarships to offer, don't be surprised if Lane Kiffin attempts to speed up that timetable.

Meanwhile, the Trojans have extended scholarship offers to a couple of players, one from the prep ranks and the other who plies his trade in junior college.

Javarius Allen from Lincoln high school in Tallahassee, Fl., is a running back with good size (6'1," 210 lbs.), and versatility.

Allen, rated a three-star prospect by , rushed for over 1,000 yards, and had 12 total touchdowns as a junior in 2009.

Allen holds scholarship offers from most of the top programs in the country and lists them all as "medium" on his interest list.

Meanwhile, the other recipient of a Trojans offer also provides a bit of intrigue regarding the Trojans verbal commits for 2010.

Maurice Couch , a defensive linemen from Garden City, JC, brings all of the physical attributes needed to the table to be a top defensive interior lineman.

Couch, who goes 6'2," 295 lbs., is rated a three-star prospect by . The site goes on to say that Couch's versatility will allow him to play at either the three technique or nose tackle positions.

Couch lists his interest in the Trojans as "medium."

The reason why this offer is intriguing is because USC commit, Antuan Woods, has changed his status from a solid verbal to a "soft" verbal.

Though Woods is still thought to be a heavy Trojans "lean," it appears that Kiffin is hedging his bet just in case.

Finally, a talented, young player who desperately wanted to be a Trojan, now appears to be headed elsewhere after not receiving an offer from USC.

Todd Barr , the talented four-star defensive end from Lakewood high school, had always wanted to play for the Trojans, and to that end, had always rated them "high" on his interest list.

Not anymore.

Barr now has USC rated only as "medium" on his dance card, and after patiently waiting for an offer that has yet to come, it appears he will turn in attention elsewhere.

Why the Trojans have waited to pull the trigger on Barr defies explanation, but be it far from me to question Kiffin, Ed Orgeron, or the recruiting department at USC.

That's it.

A slow period in recruiting has ground almost to a halt for USC, and this is probably a reflection of things to come, unless the Trojans are successful in having some of their scholarships returned on appeal from the NCAA.

If they are indeed returned some "schollies," it still may mean that USC simply has run out of viable candidates for scholarship offers.

Better to have unused scholarships available and a dearth of players to offer them to, than to have too many players without the ability to bring them into the fold.

And for that assumption, even I don't need to defer to Kiffin and company.

Oakland Raiders: Learn the Players’ Names

July 16th, 2010

I challenged my associates to learn the names on the Oakland Raiders roster. The easy way to start was to learn the names of the guys with the same last name.

Here is a list of the entire roster with the names of the men who have the same last name underlined:


# Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Age Exp. College
84 Adeniji, Damola WR 6-3 215 23 R Oregon State
21 Asomugha, Nnamdi CB 6-2 210 29 8 California
69 Barnes, Khalif T 6-5 325 28 6 Washington
32 Bennett, Michael RB 5-9 205 31 10 Wisconsin
10 Bodiford, Shaun WR 5-11 185 28 4 Portland State
7 Boller, Kyle QB 6-3 220 29 7 California
73 Boschetti, Ryan DT 6-4 310 28 6 UCLA
30 Boyd, Jerome S 6-2 225 24 2 Oregon
33 Branch, Tyvon SS 6-0 205 23 3 Connecticut
57 Brown, Ricky LB 6-2 235 26 5 Boston College
27 Brown, Stevie S 5-11 215 22 R Michigan
90 Bryant, Desmond DT 6-5 290 24 2 Harvard
29 Bush, Michael RB 6-1 245 26 3 Louisville
74 Campbell, Bruce G/T 6-6 315 22 R Maryland
8 Campbell, Jason QB 6-5 230 28 6 Auburn
66 Carlisle, Cooper G 6-5 295 32 11 Florida
25 Cartwright, Rock RB 5-8 215 30 9 Kansas State
59 Condo, Jon LS 6-3 250 28 5 Maryland
78 Cooper, Chris DT 6-5 285 32 8 Nebraska-Omaha
71 Daniels, Alex DE 6-4 260 23 R Cincinnati
31 Eugene, Hiram FS 6-2 200 29 5 Louisiana Tech
13 Figurs, Yamon WR 5-11 185 28 4 Kansas State
12 Ford, Jacoby WR 5-9 185 22 R Clemson
3 Frye, Charlie QB 6-4 220 28 6 Akron
76 Gallery, Robert G 6-7 325 29 7 Iowa
48 Goethel, Travis LB 6-2 240 22 R Arizona State
5 Gradkowski, Bruce QB 6-1 220 27 5 Toledo
52 Groves, Quentin LB 6-3 265 26 3 Auburn
97 Gunheim, Greyson DE 6-5 265 24 3 Washington
67 Heard, Kellen DT 6-6 355 24 R Memphis
79 Henderson, John DT 6-7 335 31 9 Tennessee
75 Henderson, Mario T 6-7 300 25 4 Florida St ate
85 Heyward-Bey, Darrius WR 6-2 210 23 2 Maryland
15 Higgins, Johnnie Lee WR 5-11 185 26 4 Texas-El Paso
17 Holland, Jonathan WR 6-1 195 25 3 Louisiana Tech
99 Houston, Lamarr DE 6-3 305 23 R Texas
53 Howard, Thomas OLB 6-3 240 27 5 Texas-El Paso
16 Hubbard, Paul WR 6-2 225 25 1 Wisconsin
24 Huff, Michael FS 6-1 205 27 5 Texas
11 Janikowski, Sebastian K 6-2 250 32 11 Florida State
37 Johnson, Chris CB 6-1 200 30 7 Louisville
94 Joseph, William DT 6-5 310 30 7 Miami (Fla.)
93 Kelly, Tommy DT 6-6 300 29 7 Mississippi State
9 Lechler, Shane P 6-2 225 33 11 Texas A&M
60 Loper, Daniel G 6-6 320 28 6 Texas Tech
55 McClain, Rolando LB 6-3 255 21 R Alabama
20 McFadden, Darren RB 6-2 210 22 3 Arkansas
22 McFadden, Walter CB 5-10 180 23 R Auburn
89 Miller, Nick WR 5-9 180 23 2 Southern Utah
80 Miller, Zach TE 6-5 255 24 4 Arizona State
34 Mitchell, Mike SS 6-1 220 23 2 Ohio University
40 Moline, Chane FB 6-0 250 22 R UCLA
51 Morris, Chris C 6-4 305 27 5 Michigan State
18 Murphy, Louis WR 6-2 200 23 2 Florida
83 Myers, Brandon TE 6-4 250 24 2 Iowa
56 Nixon, David LB 6-3 235 25 2 Brigham Young
58 Norris, Slade LB 6-3 245 24 2 Oregon State
82 Owens, John TE 6-3 255 30 9 Notre Dame
65 Parsons, Alex OL 6-4 300 22 R USC
72 Pears, Erik T 6-8 305 28 5 Colorado State
28 Porter, Joe DB 5-10 205 24 2 Rutgers
45 Reece, Marcel RB 6-3 240 25 2 Washington
98 Richardson, Jay DE 6-6 280 26 4 Ohio State
63 Rodd, Brandon G 6-4 305 24 1 Arizona State
26 Routt, Stanford CB 6-1 195 26 6 Houston
64 Satele, Samson C 6-3 300 25 4 Hawaii
81 Schilens, Chaz WR 6-4 225 24 3 San Diego State
91 Scott, Trevor DE 6-5 255 25 3 Buffalo
92 Seymour, Richard DE 6-6 310 30 10 Georgia
77 Shaughnessy, Matt DE 6-5 270 23 2 Wisconsin
61 Smith, Allen G 6-4 300 24 R Stanford
86 Stewart, Tony TE 6-5 260 30 10 Penn State
36 Thomas, Joey CB 6-1 190 29 5 Montana State
41 Tonga, Manase FB 5-11 245 26 R BYU
68 Veldheer, Jared T/C 6-8 315 23 R Hillsdale
70 Walker, Langston T 6-8 360 30 9 California
23 Ware, Jeremy CB 5-10 185 23 R Michigan State
1 Waters , Swayze K 5-11 180 23 1 Alabama-Birmingham
19 Watkins, Todd WR 6-3 195 27 3 BYU
54 Williams, Sam OLB 6-5 260 29 8 Fresno State
96 Wimbley, Kamerion LB 6-4 255 26 5 Florida State


# Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Age Exp. College
44 Lawton, Luke FB 6-0 240 29 5 McNeese State


As I rallied the folks around me to cheer for the Oakland Raiders, the idea of this name game popped up. It will be more fun in 2010 if we know the names of all of the Oakland Raiders.

Go Raiders! What's in a name? Victory, we hope!



Keeping The Edge: How The Big 12′s Edge Mismatch Will Dictate The Season

July 16th, 2010

If you want to understand one of the primary reasons that the league will take a on a decidedly defensive slant in 2010 compared to years previous, perform this simple exercise:

Open a Word doc or take out a piece of Dukes of Hazzard stationery.

Make two columns.

There are 24 offensive tackles in this league and 24 edge rushers (3-4 OLBs or 4-3 DEs) to oppose them.

List #1

1. List out all of the elite Offensive Tackles in this league. Your page should still be blank.
2. List out all of the quality Offensive Tackles in this league. You should have around 6.
3. Still a pesky 18 Offensive Tackle spots remaining. Hmm….

List #2

1. List out all of the elite DEs/OLBs in this league. There are 4. Possibly even 6, depending on potential realized.
2. List out all of the quality DEs/OLBs in this league. That’s about 8 more.
3. At least 1/2 of the Big 12′s DEs range from good to great.

List #1 will be blocking List #2.

Right. I think you see where I’m going.

So let’s talk about these edge guys, who they are, and what they’re going to mean to opposing offenses, as they are, top to bottom, one of the best DE crops the league has ever seen.

I’ll keep my focus on the best twelve, The Big 12′s Dirty Dozen.

Aldon Smith – Missouri 11.5 sacks, 19 tfl
Von Miller – Texas A&M 17 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 21.5 tfl
Jeremy Beal – Oklahoma 11 sacks, 70 tackles, 19 tfl
Sam Acho – Texas 10 sacks, 14 tfl

Choosing from the four best edge players in the league tells me something about your philosophy and there are no wrong answers. Do you favor the complete edge player who plays both the run and pass or do you prefer your edge guys to get after the QB, come hell or high water? Howie Long or Bruce Smith? Tony Brackens or Charles Haley?

Man crush

We can dicker back and forth on these elites to pick our favorite, but the guy with the least publicity of the lot – Aldon Smith – may have the highest upside of them all. He is Missouri’s best sack threat since William Quantrill. Smith, for lack of a better term, is swoopy. Built like a NBA power forward, wingspan like a condor and one of my favorite players in the league because of his high motor and quick first step. He’s also sneaky against the run. He menaced the league as a redshirt freshman and his potential has barely been tapped. Only Nebraska’s Suh gave the Texas offensive line more headaches. If Missouri can put some credible pass-rushing threats next to him in the front four, another double digit sack year seems assured. Big-time football player.

Aaron Wallace approves

Von Miller is the most explosive pure pass rusher in the league, and is both handicapped and aided by playing at Texas A&M. Handicapped in that he is surrounded by Klein High School’s junior varsity and teams can find ways to take him from the game in key moments (or key games altogether – see OU, Georgia); aided by his scheme in that he’s not asked to do much but rush the passer. When you’re 6'3"  240 pounds and your first step can’t be captured without stop-motion technology. You’re going to lead the nation in sacks if that’s your charge.

If Miller wants to become the total package, the Lawrence Taylor the Aggies like to compare him to, he needs to impact the game on running downs too. However, petty criticisms aside, there’s a reason coaches will give a testicle for a pure pass-rusher and Von Miller is that.

I’m going to praise a Sooner; must shower soon

Jeremy Beal and Sam Acho are very similar players. Both are rugged against the run, good, but not great natural pass rushers, and play with a high motor. You can line them up anywhere on the DL and they’ll be fine. Unlike Miller or Smith, neither is an identifiable athletic super-freak (meaning they’re only very athletic, we’re picking nits here people). These are your complete DEs – the guys who can make it 2nd and 11 when a team tries to test them off tackle and can pin their ears back when game context calls for that too. You wreck quarterbacks with Von Miller, you wreck game plans with Jeremy Beal and Sam Acho.

Pierre Allen – Nebraska 5 sacks, 51 tackles, 12 tfl
Jake Laptad – Kansas 6.5 sacks (16 career)
Eddie Jones – Texas 5 sacks, 1 interception return for TD
Ugo Chinasa – Oklahoma State 6.5 sacks
Marquez Herrod – Colorado 6 sacks

These are very good NFL quality players that find themselves here because of one question mark in their game.

For Pierre Allen, it’s effort and consistency. He’s built like a DE prototype (6-5 265+), he’s experienced, productive, and I’ve seen high level performances from him in a number of games. I’ve also seen him settle for okay far too often when he's slap-dancing with OTs he should be able to discard. I expect Allen to put it together this year and, along with Crick inside, replace some of the mojo lost with Suh’s departure.

Jake Laptad is a pure power DE and the brightest spot on what should be a poor Jayhawk defense. He’s strong as hell, high-motor, and loves to mash. However, he gets his sacks with strength and effort – not a blinding step around the corner.

Does pedigree eventually win out? Clipper Cooper thinks so. If Clipper is right, then expect big things from Ugo Chinasa and, eventually, the Menendez brothers. Chinasa looks as if he was designed on a NFL DE factory pre-set, he has a huge wingspan, and good athleticism. He’s also productive-ish. -ish, I said. But…something is missing. Is it effort? Is it that he’s not a natural football player? Does he need a session with a psychotherapist and a doll? Let me know if you know, because there’s about $3,000,000 in signing bonus riding on it.

Eddie Jones was a five star recruit, battled injuries for years, and then found himself backing up high level NFL quality edge players like Sergio Kindle, Henry Melton, Brian Orakpo and Sam Acho. No shame in that. However, when your back-up DE manages five sacks in limited snaps, demonstrates a better first step than his more lauded counterpart Acho, and runs an interception sixty yards for a touchdown, you see a player that’s only health and steady playing time away from doing some real interesting stuff. It’s the Eddie Jones Flash – that little display of athletic ability where you turn to someone next to you and ask,”Did Eddie Jones just sack a QB on a three step drop?”

His greatest impediment? He shares a roster with another load of quality DEs. He has to beat out Alex Okafor, among others, and there’s no guarantee of that. Still – make no mistake – this is a NFL talent.

Marquez Herrod is a jumbo DE (6-3 280) with solid athletic ability. He will never be an elite pass rusher, but his strength and base make him a handful for OTs and he can get to the QB if you let him work long enough. This is a big boy and the NFL covets guys that can line up outside or inside the tackle as a 3-4 DE. If CU makes a bowl, Herrod will be a big reason why.

Brandon Harold – Kansas Statee Freshman All-America, missed almost entire sophomore year with injury
Brian Duncan – Texas Tech 88 tackles
Alex Okafor – Texas 22 tackles

The last three guys aren’t necessarily better than some other options worthy of discussion (OU’s Frank Alexander and the extremely talented Sooner young talented back-ups, for example) but they all have big upside and if you were drafting the league’s DEs, they’d come up in the top half.

Brandon Harold is another NFL prototype DE (6-5, 265). In 2008, he was a Freshman All-American who held Kansas State fans as breathless as an Olive Garden grand opening. Then Harold was seriously injured, missed almost his entire sophomore year, and no one knows his true condition. In fact, you won’t even find him on some preseason depth charts. It’s possible that Brandon Harold never actually existed. But if he did, he would be really good. Possibly even an elite DE.

Brian Duncan was one of the best middle linebackers in the Big 12, known for his reliability, sure tackling, and average athleticism. Then Tubs arrived with his 3-4 scheme and the Red Raiders decided Duncan had a knack for pass-rushing. Why? Because he just does. There are some players like that. Duncan is far from the edge prototype (6-0 240), but he’s an extremely experienced and productive player and I’ll venture that Tommy Tuberville knows a thing or two about defense. We should expect some things from Duncan.

Alex Okafor makes the list not just because I’m a Longhorn homer, but because it highlights the strange surplus of talent that Texas possesses at DE, while DT depth resembles a M Night Shyamalan film (mysterious, full of stupid personal decisions, and no Reggie White appearances). He’s a five star talent and will battle Eddie Jones for his starting gig. He’ll also battle Muschamp’s use of Emmanuel Acho, Sam’s athletic freak little brother starting OLB, as a dedicated edge rusher on passing downs. This seems a strange place to put a guy that may not start, but this post isn’t about starting DEs – it’s about the league’s best.

And yes, if you had any doubts, there are second and third team guys at OU and Texas who would be starting at a half dozen other Big 12 schools.


So what does it all mean, Basil?

First, Big 12 offenses will be down. For three reasons:

1. Because of the massive talent inequity I just described in my little exercise.

2. Because the league now calls holding again, after taking a whistle break in 2008.

3. Because the majority of the teams in the league now possess a guy on the edge who can injure your QB.

Several teams in the league lost QBs because they exposed them to hits playing wide-open schemes in which one trades quarterback abuse for the chance to either use him as a running weapon with “even numbers” or to put more wide receivers into the route. Texas is first among the guilty, but everyone offended. My guess is that we’ll see offenses protecting their QBs more, running the ball, taking their shots with play action and protection, and generally playing a more conservative brand of football. Passing isn’t going away, and this won’t become the SEC, but five receivers routes aren’t going to the norm any more. And if you see five wide, it’s a screen.

Your thoughts?

Have I overstated the overmatch on the edge?

Any other areas where there is a comparable, glaring talent mismatch in the league?

Will the league surprise me and be a fast break on grass?


This article originally appeared on: Barking Carnival

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How Will The Loss of Tony Allen Affect The Boston Celtics?

July 15th, 2010

Throughout the playoffs this past season the Celtics had a luxury most teams could not afford. A player who could slow the opposing team’s superstar, no matter the situation.

Tony Allen was vital in the Celtics playoff run. He offered rest to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and slowed the likes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and on a lesser scale, Vince Carter.

Offensively, Allen was a player who could slash to the basket and on occasion finish with emphasis. While he is not nearly an offensive threat, he was a serviceable 4th or 5th option.

TA is a unique player in that he gives a team defensive versatility.

Think of him like Darelle Revis on the New York Jets.

The Jets have the capability to stick Revis 1-on-1 with any wide receiver in the NFL, knowing that Revis will succeed. This allows them to send blitzes to rush the quarterback or double cover other offensive threats.

Allen allowed the Celtics to do the same. In the Finals, he covered Kobe Bryant. While Bryant still put up points, Ray Allen and Tony Allen made him take many shots which were very much forced.

This lead to Kobe’s low overall shooting percentage of 40% from field goal range, and 31% from beyond the arc.

Against the Heat, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were both inconsistent when guarding Wade, but when Tony played against Flash, he not only allowed Pierce and Ray to get into an offensive rhythm (instead of overworking themselves defensively), but also made life very difficult for Wade.

Wade ended up scoring a remarkable 56% from the field, but T. Allen received limited playing time.

Defensively, the C’s only needed to concern themselves with Wade, the Heat’s major offensive threat. They knew they could let Wade go for 30 and still win through team offense, which Tony sometimes struggled with.

However, when he did play, there was a noticeable drop in Wade’s energy level.

While not always statistically shown, Tony Allen can go 1-on-1 with the best players in the NBA and allow other players to play a team/help defense.

With the new big three in Miami, Tony could have guarded Wade or LeBron, while the Celtics could double team the other. Kevin Garnett, although aging, can still handle Chris Bosh with the help of Jermaine O’Neal and when healthy, Kendrick Perkins.

Without Tony, the Celtics will presumably double James, which will put Wade in 1-on-1 situations with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Marquis Daniels. All are capable defenders, but with each one the Celtics sacrifice in a significant fashion defensively.

With Tony Allen, they wouldn’t have to.

This Article is also featured on New England Sports Online

Brian Hartline of the Miami Dolphins Could Be Charged After Accident

July 14th, 2010

The Dolphins wide receiver brought up memories of his fellow Buckeye alumni Ted Ginn Jr., when news hit this morning that he had been involved in an accident.

While Hartline's Lawyer told the Florida Highway Patrol that the receiver was not injured, the officials may still charge him for leaving the scene of an accident that had resulted in property damage.

His Ford Truck hit a Cadillac Escalade at 4:30 a.m. today. It has not been confirmed if Hartline was driving the Truck, but he is the registered owner.

The damage reportedly was $10,000 for Hartline's truck and $20,000 for the Escalade.

When the Highway Patrol called Hartline's home, a guest answered and redirected them to Hartline's wife who is currently in California.

His Truck hit the Escalade which was on the shoulder of Interstate 595. The truck was going 65 miles per hour when it hit the Escalade, which was legally parked on the shoulder, then continued to drive 200 yards before stopping.

No one reported the accident, and there are no injuries reported.

Hartline was one of the most consistent targets for Chad Henne in 2009 in his rookie season with the Dolphins.

Hartline is the fifth Dolphin to be found on a police report this offseason, joining teammates Ronnie Brown, Will Allen, Tony McDaniel, and Phillip Merling.


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