Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jason Munns - most important recruit since Bledsoe?

I don't have premium access, but I am going to see if I can get a copy of a new story posted overnight that states that Jason Munns, the monster QB from Kennewick, has the Cougs as a slight leader in recruiting!

This has Bledsoe written all over it. The kid is the real deal from everyone who has ever seen him, and while I've only seen quick clips on the news, he certainly looks the part. He's been hyped for a couple of years now as the next Bledsoe, and he has a love for the Cougs. Check out this quote:

"It's (WSU) like the hometown team and a lot of kids from my high school go there. Everyone around here loves them. They have good tradition and the team is on the rise."

Oh yeah, he's 6.5 1/2, 225, runs a 4.9 and has a 3.8 GPA. The schools he's looking at, include WSU (the only school with "high interest), ASU, BYU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, USC, and UW.

At the time Bledsoe signed, it was a huge shock because he was a 4-star, all-everything can't miss kid that people said would be starting in the NFL, and sure enough, it came true. He was the greatest Mike Price recruit ever, highest profile. Leaf was highly-rated, and actually picked WSU over Miami, but was like 10th or so nationally. Bledsoe was in the top 3 or 4 in the nation. And this can easily now be ranked as the highest profile recruit Bill Doba and company have ever pursued. We know how recruiting can be, kids change their minds like they change underwear, but news like this is HUGE - and I mean HUGE - news early. Many "insiders" were speculating that he was going to UW or USC, period, that it was a done deal those are his finalists, but now this news.

Keep your fingers crossed, and it'll be a Stewart-like saga most likely, but let's hope they land the big fish! Read more ...plus comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

Crazy day in Seahawk-ville!

First of all, this is what I've heard (and most of this is on ESPN, but there is a source that has an indirect connection at work that has been right on a few things, including Shaun re-signing, etc):

1) The Jets and Hawks have agreed to a trade, the Hawks sending the #31 pick to the Jets in exchange for John Abraham. The problem, as it's well-documented now, is that Abraham today agreed to contract terms with the Falcons, but Atlanta and the Jets cannot agree to trade parameters! The problem is, the Jets took a beating in the media and other circles for letting Herm Edwards go to KC for only a 4th round pick. Therefore, the Jets see Abraham as a huge way of getting something big in return. They love the idea of the Hawks #31 pick. The Falcons best offer has been their 2nd round pick, which is pick #47. Clearly the Hawks pick is better than the Falcons pick, and the Jets want it.

2) Bryce Fisher has been on NFL Network this week, and twice today, he's said that he's made some calls to people "close to Abraham", and says that he's hearing Abraham really wants to play for Atlanta over Seattle. He's from South Carolina, it's closer to home, etc. And while Abraham had a lot of great things to say about the Hawks org, the reality? He was probably just using them as leverage on a deal with the Falcons.

3) MEANWHILE, Hutch will be decided by an arbitrator based on the so-called poison pill. There is some precedent here, too. Will Wolford in 1993 agreed to an offer sheet with the Colts which included him being the highest paid player on his team. The Bills challenged the deal as they had Jim Kelly making the most by far of any player. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Colts, so the Bills chose not to match after all and Wolford went to the Colts. However, with the renewal of the CBA at that time, the league and the players agreed to change that part of the CBA, and basically prohibited such clauses like that, clauses that go above the "principle terms" of the deal. So, there is some real hope here that the arbitrator will rule in favor of the Hawks....but stranger things have happened. There are also stories coming out of Minnesota that Hutch has told people close to him that he wants to play for the Vikings, not the Seahawks, so I SURE AS HELL HOPE RUSKELL has weighed all this out! The last thing, and I mean the absolute last thing they should do here is destroy their chemistry by bringing back a great player who 1) doesn't want to be there, and 2) will make the best tackle in modern day NFL probably pretty pissed off that Hutch will be getting more money. Per Mike Sando, the Hawks had a great locker room last year and the players understand the business side of the NFL, but this is really playing with fire.

4) FINALLY, Adam Schefter of the NFL network reported tonight that when you factor in Julian Peterson to the mix, and the Hawks have been negotiating with him as of this evening for a big contract, that in the next few days, it's VERY LIKELY that the Hawks will come away with 2 out of the 3 players mentioned - Hutch, Abraham and Peterson. All the while, no matter what happens, the Hawks will be in strong shape in regards to the cap.

WHEW!

Oh yeah, and a ton of NCAA upsets. Out of 38 people in my office pool, I'm in 36th place, just one game out of MRS. LAST. My final 4 is still alive, and 13 of my sweet 16 as well, but the beating you take early can make it almost impossible to come back. I know it seems like it's like this every year, but this year, wow, every time I look up today an underdog is winning!

I guess the reality is this is going to be the way for the forseeable future. Now that kids have to at least play 1 year of college ball before going to the NBA, the talent is going to be spread out more than ever. That's why I laugh when people try and pick who will be in the final 4 before the brackets are even released, I mean it's impossible to say as Michael has said since we were poops, it's all about match-ups! And, I mean with talent spread out more than ever, it's really coming down to whichever tourney team is hot that night will win, especially with the 3-point shot. Hell, Albany hung with UCONN For 36 minutes tonight before running out of steam. Never dreamed I'd see a 16 hang with a 1 for more than a half. Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, March 16, 2006

TOO MUCH information!

Geez, far too much going on in our little world.

1) Hutch offer sheet to Vikes. HUGE contract, but the Hawks can match it and still get other things done. But hand it to Ruskell, they aren't sitting still no matter what. John Abraham, Julian Peterson, Lawyer Milloy, Jamie Winborn, all in this week. Rocky brought back as well. They are suddenly focusing big on D, and that might be a sign that they are actually OK to let Hutch go and ruin Minnesota's cap (top paid player on your team a guard?? Not good!).

Just think, if they pass on Hutch? They will be $24 MILLION under the cap! Use that room to bring in big-time defensive players to make your D even nastier, all for the most replaceable position on offense, a guard? IF they get deals done with, say, Abraham, Peterson and Milloy for letting Hutch go? While it's not likely, it's something to seriously consider, no??

And, further, how great IS Hutch? That question has to be raised, because let's get real - playing next to Big Walt and Robbie Tobeck? That might make a lot of players pretty good. Chris Spencer is a big-time, nasty talent that has been talked about quite a bit sliding over to guard instead of center, and #1 draft picks don't usually sit for more than 1 year, so he's going to play next year, somewhere, guaranteed.

I'm not contending that many claim Hutch could be one of the greatest guards ever, but as Hugh Millen has said repeatedly, offensive guard is the easiest, least-demanding position on offense, hands down, no doubt about it. So you really have to think about that crazy contract.

Finally, what does it do to the morale of the team (namely Walt) if Hutch gets his huge contract, which is bigger that Hass, Alexander and the best player on the team, Walt?? Is that a good thing? Isn't chemistry one of the greatest assets the team had last year, such a delicate thing in pro sports (read: 2004-2005 Sonics vs. 2005-2006 Sonics)? And what if Hutch just wants a change of venue, a new challenge in life? He's from Florida, he played at Michigan, he has no real ties here. Maybe the Vikings are just where he wants to be, period? Lots to think about. At least it'll be all decided on Sunday, one way or another.

MY gut says it's probably 60-40 that they will MATCH. But my personal feeling? If you can nab top-flight players in their prime (Peterson and Abraham are both 27), do it, let Hutch walk, make Spencer the starting OG immediately and worry about center later (last check, Tobeck was in the pro bowl).

2) Keyshawn hypes up the Hawks - Key, released yesterday, told SI.com that Seattle is a dream scenario. His quote was something of the lines of "a dream having Hasselbeck hit me between the 1 and the 9." But he also quoted about 5 other teams, but it was interesting that Seattle was first. Also, reportedly he has a good relationship with Ruskell, who was in Tampa when they traded for Keyshawn and of course, won a SB. We'll see. Could be an excellent choice opposite D-Jax? He's known as a great run-blocking WR, something that could only help the running game. Yes, he's aging, but he did catch 79 balls last year. He's got great hands and could be just huge in that offense.

3) Final Four - who ya got?? I went with the gut picks, as usual, for the office pool. I know I'll take a bath, though, because I'm far too dumb in regards to the mid-majors, and I didn't pick nearly enough major upsets, which we know are brewing. A few that I picked:
LSU over Duke in the sweet 16. Texas wins that region.
San Diego St over Indiana, UCLA wins that region.
Georgetown over OSU and into the great 8, loses to Nova as they win that region.
Wichita St over Tennessee, UConn wins that region.
Final game is Texas and UConn, with Jim Calhoun cutting down the nets.

On a local note, there is NO WAY UW gets by Illinois? Dee Brown vs. Justin Dentmon?? A true frosh PG vs. one of the best college guards in the millenium?? Uh, yeah, teams with frosh PG's just don't go deep in this tourney, end of story.

I've also got Gonzaga losing to UCLA in the sweet 16, but they might not even get there. Raivo is a serious liability, nowhere near as good as many thought he would be, and as good as Morrison is, he better be on fire. Because when he has an off night, they are worse than Duke when Redick can't hit anything. They are in big-time trouble.

4) Adrian Beltre - While nobody continues to watch the WBC, there is one thing I've paid very close attention to more than anything else, and that's Adrian Beltre. He is ON FRIGGIN' FIRE right now. He started out going 5-for-10 with 4 HR's, a 1700 slg %. WOW. He looks great, and as one blogger writes, he fully has his balance back. The mechanics of his swing are absolutely perfect. I won't even recite the details, I couldn't do it justice, but check it out:



http://detectovision.com/?p=527

He's going to have a SCARY great year. .300, 40 HR, 110 RBI. And all the while, they'll flirt with .500! :) Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Students vote YES


Nice! Last count was Yes - 3,937 (59%), No - 2,753 (41%).

Now phases I and II will begin in earnest as soon as the 06 AC is in the books, ready to go for the opening of 2007. Restrooms, concessions, east end zone entrance as shown above, new scoreboard for phase I. Phase II will take care of the north side, including concessions and restrooms. Hopefully some momentum will be generated now that we'll actually be able to see, touch and feel the changes by 2007, and phase III can in fact happen (phase III will include additional seats, premium seats, etc).

In other news, the Dick Bennett era is over. I'm very interested in what young Tony is going to bring to the program. While they took major strides under Dick and put in a system that is a headache, Tony has made some comments of late that they are going to look to change things up a bit, especially on offense, and that could help recruiting. But he's also said, many times, "We can't go out and run with Washington, Arizona and UCLA. They'll run us off the floor if we tried that." A lot of that is talent, clearly, but it would be nice to see a little more of an open offense!

In some perspective, Dick did a hell of a job. We actually won AT ARIZONA last year, are you kidding me? They also beat the Pauley Pavilion hex, and swept UW this year. While they never took the next step and made a postseason tourney of any kind, and there were nights that they were downright dreadful, Dick did what he set out to do, and that is to build a program!

On Tony - I'm excited for him, but I'm also a little nervous. It makes you wonder, as I heard a guy on ESPN radio saying that it's a bad hire for WSU. I'm thinking "huh?" He goes on to say that a lot of times, these great, successful men pave their own way, and yet their sons just aren't their fathers. A lot of times, sons of crazy successful men grow up "soft". I know that's a big generalization, and I think very highly of Tony from what I've read and heard and I think he's a nice, fresh face that has great college and NBA playing experience and will bring some dynamics to the job that we are pretty fortunate to have at WSU, but he is 0-0 as a head coach. We'll see how the transition goes, but I'm going to be paying a lot more attention to the hoops program from here on out!

Nice to see the NFL get their act together. The best part is the Hawks now have about $20 million in cap room! Can you believe that? Their core is intact, and they have room to spare under the cap. Tremendous. They'll keep Hutch, no matter what, but they'll still have plenty of room to spare to try and keep some key parts, as well as flirt with some other free agents out there. Going to be a pretty wild free agent season! Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

WOW are we going to miss Jerome!

I guess during the season, you don't really take a moment to step back and truly look at how good a player is on video. But now, you can. This is a highlight video of Jerome's amazing 2005 season, and man oh man, watching it now?? Are you KIDDING me?!?! I know there are some decent prospects behind him in Woolridge and MAYBE J.T., and the o-line was tremendous last year in one of the most underrated o-line groups, maybe in school history, but WOW what a player. Check it out, it's worth the download:

http://www.draftshowcase.com/JeromeHarrison.wmv Read more ...plus comments