Archive for August, 2009

SITE NEWS: Yeah, I got this.

August 11, 2009

emily-deyoung-6

What up peeps? Just checking in to say what’s up. I know I promised a team preview for my top 25 every weekday till the season starts on September 3rd, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I’m on vacation right now so don’t fault me for slacking on my blogging duties, I WILL GET ALL THE TEAM PREVIEWS DONE IN TIME. Don’t you worry about that. They may come out slightly delayed, but they will be there, don’t you worry.

While you wait, enjoy Emily Deyoung (above). You’re welcome.

T9C Countdown: #20 Miami Hurricanes.

August 5, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. To see all of the previous ranked teams, be sure to check the links at the bottom of this post.

Jacory Harris

Jacory Harris

Some of the best pro athletes pave their way to the league by starting at Miami. The program has always bred great athletes out of raw talent and Randy Shannon’s new era of football at the U is no different. The success of this program relies on how fast Shannon can facilitate his great talent into a winning team. 2008 was the first step as the Hurricanes went 7-6 and made it to the Emerald Bowl (a 17-24 loss). 2009 is the next step, but it will be a lot tougher, especially in the first four games.

This team will be facing a tough slate early in the season, facing Florida State in Tallahassee, a home game against a tough Georgia Tech team, a trip to Lane Stadium to take on Virginia Tech, before settling down at home… against Oklahoma. Ouch.

At times in this countdown, I have stressed the importance of the play at quarterback and Miami is no different. Sophomore Jacory Harris will need to step up because he won’t have to share snaps with Robert Marve, who decided to transfer this off-season. Splitting snaps with Marve in 2008, the true freshman was able to notch 1,195 yards on 118 completed passes and a 60.8 completion percentage. For the Hurricanes to succeed in 2009 relies on how cohesive the connection between Harris and the tremendously athletic receiver corps. It shouldn’t be a problem for Harris to find the passing lanes over his large offensive line either. His size will definitely help him find successful dump-off passes over the middle.

Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper

The running back position will be up for grabs but Shannon will be able to choose from two six-footers in Javarris James and Craig Cooper. James is talented and will hope to return or better his 802 yards in his breakout freshmen year in 2007. 2008 was a different story because he was injured for much of the season. Cooper picked up the slack last year notching 841 yards on 171 carries. I’d say Shannon will tap Cooper as the primary rusher while James will work more in short-yardage situations.

The receiving corps used a lot of freshmen in 2008, and while they were successful then, they can only get better. Aldarius Johnson led the team in 2008 with 31 catches and plays a lot like Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant. He’s physical, has the size to outmuscle corners, and will be able to come down with a good amount of jump balls. Travis Benjamin is the opposite. At 5 foot 10, 170-pound sophomore, Benjamin is a fast player that the Canes may also look for to field kicks. LaRon Byrd will settle in to the back-up role but will still be able to make a good impact for Miami.

The offensive was shaky last year and will have to regroup after losing graduating players at right tackle and center. These guys have size (all players are over 300 pounds, easily) and need to use it to help open up the holes for James and Cooper in the running game.

Allen Bailey

Allen Bailey

Bill Young made his way back to his alma mater Oklahoma State, meaning the Hurricanes will need to rely heavily on their athleticism as they break in another defensive coordinator.

This defensive unit has a special kind of depth that may actually hurt the team in the long run. Look for Allen Bailey to break out after missing all but four games last season. His size and speed is absolutely incredible as he notched 36 tackles, 9 for loss, and five sacks in the four games that he did play. This guy should be an All-American if he can stay healthy. Freshman All-America Marcus Forston will be back, solidifying a tough defensive line that didn’t live up to expectations last year. Eric Moncur delivers the veteran leadership for the d-line, coming back as the top pass-rusher in 2008, despite playing in just four games.

Sean Spence headlines the linebackers, showing he has what it takes to play on Sunday in the near future. Named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Spence is a hardhitting LB that will be sure to scare running backs from around the league. Darrryl Sharpton is the veteran with 39 games of experience and 20 starts. He will need to shut down the run to the outside but be able to help Spence in the middle as well.

Aldarius Johnson

Aldarius Johnson

The secondary is shaky at times and will need to plug some holes due to graduation. Senior Randy Phillips will be back after being granted a medical hardship by the NCAA and needs to be able to make the big play. Vaughn Telemaqu has shown he has what it takes at safety with his athleticism, but he needs to stay focused during the game to avoid blowing coverage and costing the Hurricanes touchdowns.

The Hurricanes are a young team that could mature into a possible national championship contender, but that won’t happen in 2009. The first four games will make or break Miami’s season with all four games marked up as possible losses, but if they’re able to win one, or better by splitting them 2-2, this team should be able to chalk up 9 wins.

Schedule:
9/7 at Florida State
9/12 OPEN DATE
9/17 Georgia Tech
9/26 at Virginia Tech
10/3 Oklahoma
10/10 Florida A&M
10/17 at UCF
10/24 Clemson
10/31 at Wake Forest
11/7 Virginia
11/14 at North Carolina
11/21 Duke
11/28 at South Florida

Key Games:
Just look at the first four. That’s rough.

Vegasinsider.com over/under: 7.5

Key Players:
Jacory Harris
Craig Cooper
Aldarius Johnson
Allen Bailey
Sean Spence

Rest of the best:
#21 Nevada Wolfpack
#22 Kansas Jayhawks
#23 Illinois Illini
#24 UNC Tar Heels
#25 Pitt Panthers

Yes, this is relevant.

August 5, 2009

Hey, the X Games ended a few days and this is a cool video. Stay tuned for our #20 college football team on the T9C countdown.

So you think you can rap: Delonte West edition.

August 4, 2009

T9C Countdown: #21 Nevada Wolfpack.

August 4, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. To see all of the previous ranked teams, be sure to check the links at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

Colin Kaepernick returns for his third season at the helm of the Wolfpack offense.

Colin Kaepernick returns for his third season at the helm of the Wolfpack offense.

2006 Boise State Broncos. 2007 Hawaii Warriors. 2008 Utah Utes. All BCS bowl crashers in the past few years. Is it possible that the Nevada Wolfpack could become the latest in the non-BCS conference teams to make their way to one of the five big bowl games? It’s very possible with the schedule the WAC team has and the pistol offense the team runs with one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country. But do they deserve it? Would they be able to take down a major conference champion in the Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl? Maybe. These questions are getting a little ahead of themselves when a single game hasn’t even been played yet.

I’ve seen this team play in person. They can get the ball into the end zone whenever they want and can break some great runs right up the middle as well. Any down is a threat to make it to the final ten yards of the field. Kaepernick is more accurate than many give him credit for and with Vai Taua, I don’t know how this team can’t go 10-2 or 11-1… and possibly one win better.

Vai Taua hopes to solidify his role in Nevada's pistol offense.

Vai Taua hopes to solidify his role in Nevada's pistol offense.

Nevada definitely has one of the more balanced and versatile offenses running such an open offense. With Junior Colin Kaepernick, the Wolfpack have a quarterback with the legs of Randall Cunningham and the arm of… well, maybe Randall Cunningham is a good comparison for the fleet footed commander of the offense. Kaepernick is in his third season in the pistol season and has proved his consistency with 2,849 yards passing and 1,130 yards rushing in his second season after a stellar freshman year. I can see Kaepernick making the honorable mention All-American team. He’s that good and should find some kind of home playing on Sunday (some have him going in the first round in next years draft).

There’s nothing wrong with the Wolfpack’s offense. It’s balanced and puts up great numbers in all its games. Their 277.8 yards rushing per game ranked third in the country while their 230.8 yards through the air ranked 47th. Nevada returns Vai Taua, the 5’10” back that stepped up to fill the void of Luke Lippincott after he went down with a torn ACL. His 1,520 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing helped the Wolfpack tremendously, with 8 games rushing for over 100 yards, including a phenomenal 263 yards against Fresno State. Lippincott is back for a sixth year and Courtney Randall is projected #2 on the depth chart and will add backup when needed. If the Wolfpacks rushing game isn’t as good as 2008, it will only be better.

Chris Wellington becomes the #1 receiver for Nevada's inexperienced wide-outs.

Chris Wellington becomes the #1 receiver for Nevada's inexperienced wide-outs.

Nevada losses it’s top two receivers from 2008 but the size and athleticism that Chris Wellington, Brandon Wimberly and Tray Session will help the Wolfpack switch between the run and pass easily. Joe Washington is a highly touted recruit that will see playing time as a receiver and a kick returner that could make a key difference in close games. These are a lot of new guys, but the strong running game should distract defenders, leaving these receivers facing single coverage a lot of the time.

The secondary was dismal against the pass in 2008, giving up 311.6 yards per game, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because of their pass happy WAC opponents. The tackles were spread around with a lot of players in the mix last season. Strong safety Jonathan Amaya will line up for his last season along with Antoine Thompson at cornerback. Both players bring the experience and toughness the Wolfpack need to be successful. It’s just the rest of this defensive unit that will be questionable (besides the defensive line). Cory Smith is a heralded JUCO recruit that the Nevada coaches will hope can step in and be able to shut down the pass. Isaiah Frey is the second CB in the depth chart but lacks the ability to shut down on the pass, which will come back to hurt the team, in my opinion. There will be a lot of competition in the secondary, but I don’t think they will be able to make that much of a difference from last season.

The defense was strong defending the rush, allowing just 88.6 yards per game. Those numbers may be skewed because of the offensive mentality of the WAC coaches, but the defensive line can get the job done. Chris Slack saw limited time last year, but was able to record 10 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss. He is a bit undersized, but he will be a key to filling the shoes of Mundrae Clifton, the lone starter lost on the d-line. Expect to hear the name of Kevin Basped a lot this season. The All-WAC recorded 10.5 sacks last season, including 18.5 tackles for loss. This guy is big and able to take down any player he wants. Dontay Moch is another name on the d-line that will make a difference. If only Nevada could recruit in the secondary as well as they did on the defensive side of the trench.

Dontay Moch will most likely be playing on Sunday, but could see himself playing in a BCS bowl by seasons end.

Dontay Moch will most likely be playing on Sunday, but could see himself playing in a BCS bowl by seasons end.

This team has the strength to switch between the rush and the pass efficiently and will most likely be the #1 or #2 placed team in the WAC. The secondary absolutely has to show up if they want to become the WAC Champs. If they can take down Boise State in their final game of the regular season, look for a BCS bowl bid.

Vegasinsider over/under: 7.5

Schedule:
9-5 @ Notre Dame
9-12 @ Colorado State
9-25 Missouri (Fri.)
10-3 UNLV
10-9 Louisiana Tech (Fri)
10-17 @ Utah State
10-31 Hawaii
11-8 @ San Jose State
11-14 Fresno State
11-21 @ New Mexico State
11-27 @ Boise State (Fri)

Key Games:
9/5 @ Notre Dame
9/25 Missouri
11/27 @ Boise State

Returning:
Offense: 7
Defense: 7

Key Players:
QB Colin Kaepernick
RB Vai Taua
WR Chris Wellington
DE Dontay Moch
WR/KR/PR Joe Washington
SS Jonathan Amaya
DT Kevin Basped

The rest of the countdown:
#25 Pitt Panthers
#24 North Carolina Tar Heels
#23 Illinois Illini
#22 Kansas Jayhawks

Calendar for a sports fan.

August 3, 2009

August Sports Calendar copy

I know it’s the 3rd and this is a calendar for August, but it’s been a long weekend of packing up and coming east for a little vacation. So just to tell you a little about this calendar, I’ve always wanted to compile a bunch of sports into one single calendar, but either didn’t know how to design it or was way too lazy. This is just a rough first version of the calendar and I’ll be looking for more ways to spruce it up, make it look better visually and enhance it with more sports.

So take a look at it, offer some suggestions and enjoy August.

T9C Countdown: #22 Kansas Jayhawks.

August 3, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. To see all of the previous ranked teams, be sure to check the links at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

In full disclosure, I am a current student at Mizzou and hold obvious hard feelings against the Jayhawks. I hate them smelly beakers, but do recognize they have a good team this year. Take that as you will.

Meier and Reesing return for another prolific passing season in Lawrence.

Meier and Reesing return for another prolific passing season in Lawrence.

Kansas did some amazing things on the national stage in 2007, losing just one game to Missouri in the Border War before stunning Virginia Tech in their first BCS bowl in school history. 2008 looked to be another year in which the program would grab national headlines, but the Jayhawks had to play a tough Big 12 South rotation of Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, leaving the team with a mediocre record before trying to avenge their loss to Missouri at Arrowhead the previous year.

Ending the season with two wins against the Tigers and Minnesota in the Insight Bowl, the Jayhawks gained momentum going into 2009. This looks to be the last year Kansas will be able to capatilize on quarterback Todd Reesings success. With the help of one of the best wide receiver tandems in the country in Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier, the Jawhawks should rank in the top ten in offensive numbers in the country.

Briscoe and Meier combined for 189 receptions in 2008, each showing their ability to shine as individuals. Their ability to get open when needed has helped Reesing become the best quarterback in school history. Their game against Missouri last year is something head coach Mark Mangino will talk about with his players to get them to play harder. This may seem like just another prolific Big 12 offense (prolific seems to be the best word to describe this type of spread offense), but the Jayhawks are a scrappy team that fights on every play. They don’t have the history to fall back on, but they will challenge any defense in the country down to the last play.

Kansas+v+Missouri+6QFoltmie86l

Just as any team in the Big 12 North has shown us, defense is not the strong suit for the Jayhawks, but senior leadership should play a large role in the teams’ success. Strong Safety Darrell Stuckey returns for his final year to lead a depleted defensive unit. The depth is what scares me most about this team. The Big 12 is too fast-paced to lack depth and the already young linebacker corps does not help them one bit. All of the starting linebackers from 2008 are gone, leaving some big shoes to fill, especially when the projected back-ups have such small feet. Angus Quigley started working in the backer position late in the season after spending most of his time looking for snaps at running back. Senior Arist Wright is also an option for Mangino to throw in, but his size limits him and his inexperience may prove costly.

Phillip Strozier will help Stuckey as the lead cornerback and may be one of the breakout stars for Kansas after taking control of the starting role midway through the season. The defensive line should be strong this year, though unheralded in 2008. Jake Laptad should start on the left end while Maxwell Onyegbule will take over on the right, looking to put up good numbers in his final season. Richard Johnson and Caleb Blakesley will line up inside, looking to shut down the run while Laptad and Onyegbule work around the sides to provide constant pressure on the quarterback.
The offensive line was young last year, resulting in the drop-off in performance from 2007. This year, Jeremiah Hatch, Jeff Spikes, Sal Capra, Tanner Hawkinson and John Williams will all have playing time under their belt to prevent rushers from making their way to Reesing.

Mangino_Reesing_111720071

One of the larger problems the Jayhawks face this season is something they can’t control with recruiting and good coaching. It’s the schedule. They face the same tough competition from their rotation of the Big 12 South teams, making their schedule that much tougher. I cross those games off as losses for KU and that doesn’t even count the tough games they will have to play at Colorado, home against Nebraska, and the Border War against Missouri in Kansas City. All in all, Kansas’ last seven games are all questionable wins. It’s going to be tough for this team to power through with the strength and will to compete in the competitive Big 12.

With such a tough schedule it’s hard to think Kansas will be able to come out of the regular season above the vegasinsider.com over/under of 8 games, but I’m going to take the over with 9 wins and 3 losses. I think Reesing will be the best we have seen in his final season in Lawrence with the help he has from Briscoe and Meier. The depth scares me, but they were able to manage 8 total wins last season. I think they will be able to improve on their final record from 2008, but the defensive line needs to play consistent.

KUfbgame

Vegasinsider.com over/under: 8

Schedule:
9/5 Northern Colorado
9/12 at UTEP
9/19 Duke
9/26 Southern Miss
10/3 OPEN DATE
10/10 Iowa State
10/17 at Colorado
10/24 Oklahoma
10/31 at Texas Tech
11/7 at Kansas State
11/14 Nebraska
11/21 at Texas
11/28 Missouri (in KC)

Key Games:
10/17 @ Colorado
10/31 @ Texas Tech
11/14 Nebraska
11/28 Missouri (in KC)
Added note: I decided not to include the Oklahoma and Texas games because I don’t think the Jayhawks will be able to compete. I do hold open the possibility of Kansas upsetting Oklahoma if they win the Red River Shootout the week before they meet in Lawrence. They should be able to capitalize on the Sooners upswing from such a pivotal game in their season.

Key Players:
QB Todd Reesing
WR Dezmon Briscoe
WR Kerry Meier
SS Darrell Stuckey
CB Phillip Strozier
RT Jeff Spikes

Returning:
Offense: 8
Defense: 7

The rest of the countdown:
#25 Pitt Panthers
#24 North Carolina Tar Heels
#23 Illinois Illini

4 points?

August 2, 2009

SPECIAL WEEKEND POST ZONG!

This was my favorite part of playing soccer. Either watching someone getting drilled in the face or doing it to the ref. Oops, my bad.

The bad part about these videos is not about the girl that gets smacked in the face with this ball. It’s more about the girl that did the kicking. You just know the girl wanted some revenge later in the game.

If she wasn’t crying.

[WithLeather]