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Loyola Hoops Moving Up Mid-Major Polls

Posted on 13 December 2011 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE – The Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball team’s school Division I record 8-1 start and eight-game winning streak has caught the attention of the national media and mid-major coaches.

After wins over George Washington University and Mount St. Mary’s University last week, Loyola checks in at No. 15 in the ESPN.com Mid-Major Power 15.

The Greyhounds are also ranked for the first time this season in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, checking in at 24th.Loyola is ranked in the poll for the first time since the end of the 2007-2008 season when it finished the year 19-14, the most wins in Loyola’s Division I history.

Loyola is one of two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams recognized in both rankings. Iona College is 11th in the ESPN.com version and fifth in the CollegeInsider.com poll. Fairfield University is receiving votes, as well in the latter.

This year, the Greyhounds fell by 12 points in their season-opener at Wake Forest University, but they have reeled off eight wins in a row, the most since the school elevated to NCAA Division I status in 1981-1982. The 8-1 start also has eclipsed the previous mark for the best start in the same time span. The 2005-2006 team won five in a row to start the year and was 7-2 after nine games.

Head Coach Jimmy Patsos and his team have used a balanced attack this season to start the season off right. Four players – Dylon Cormier (17.9), Erik Etherly (12.9), Shane Walker (12.0) and Justin Drummond (10.1) – are averaging double figures in the scoring column, and Robert Olson (9.1) is right behind.

On the defensive end of the court, the Greyhounds are allowing opponents just 63.4 points per game through nine.

Loyola has also been a solid rebounding club, outrebounding opponents by a MAAC-best 7.0 boards per game. The Greyhounds also lead the league in offensive rebounds, pulling down an average of 15.9 off the glass per game.

This week has also seen individuals draw praise from multiple sources. Dylon Cormier was named the MAAC Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday, and Tuesday he was named the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight National Player of the Week.

The Greyhounds are on an eight-day break this week to take final exams. They resume play on Sunday when they travel to Olean, N.Y., for a 2:30 p.m. game at St. Bonaventure University.

- loyolagreyhounds.com -

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The 15-7-0 Is Feeling Rather Presidential This Week

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The 15-7-0 Is Feeling Rather Presidential This Week

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. The Towson University football team didn’t play a game this weekend, but somehow it will likely go down as the greatest of their lives.

The scene at the Towson Center Saturday afternoon rivals some of the most incredible I’ve seen in Charm City sports history, but sports had very little to do with it.

The most special moment of the visit from President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama (Michelle’s brother Craig Robinson is the head coach of the Oregon State team that crushed the Tigers Saturday afternoon) came at halftime.

Athletic Director Mike Waddell introduced Head Coach Rob Ambrose & the CAA Champion football team, who were enjoying a week off as they prepared for their FCS playoff showdown with Lehigh next Saturday at Unitas Stadium. The President walked out to greet the team, then posed for a picture to the absolute delight of the young men.

It was the type of moment that induces chills. Wow.

2. I’m really jealous of the Cincinnati Bengals for having AJ Green on their roster.

Oh, and Jermaine Gresham too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFByq1hpVGE

They duo (and Cincy QB Andy Dalton) were vital in the Bengals’ come from behind win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday in a game that judging by the attendance no one in the Queen City knew was happening…

Can’t help but notice a few empty seats in the background there, gang. This is a team fighting for AT LEAST an AFC Wild Card spot, not completely out of the AFC North race. This is the best you can do? Maybe “Los Angeles Bengals” has a nice ring?

Since we’re here, here’s a picture of Colt McCoy Tebowing…

3. Rob Gronkowski is not the only reason the Patriots are good, but something tells me there’s a correlation between 11 TD catches and a 6’6″ frame.

To be fair, the way New England was playing Sunday it’s possible a 4’6″ receiver could have caught a TD from Tom Brady Sunday at The Linc…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwO47-nf1lM

Vince Young threw for 400 yards in the defeat, basically because he had no choice but to throw the football every time the Philadelphia Eagles had the ball.

That SHOULD put the final nail in Philly’s “Dream Team” coffin. Andy Reid’s has been sitting open for awhile now outside the City of Brotherly Love. Will it be nailed down as well? We’ll see.

4. Robert Griffin III’s injury might be just enough to default the Heisman Trophy back to Andrew Luck somehow.

The other candidate in the mix (and perhaps the frontrunner) is Alabama RB Trent Richardson, but we’ll get back to him.

After an incredible performance a week earlier against Oklahoma, the Baylor QB might have been one more spectacular performance away from locking up the chance to hear his name called in New York in two weeks. Unfortunately, RG3 was taken out of the game in the second half (probably for a concussion) and had to watch the second of the Bears’ win over Texas Tech from the Cowboys Stadium sideline…

So…Stanford QB Andrew Luck (the preordained winner of the Heisman before the season) was back in the picture with the chance to lock the thing up. Luck was good but not great in the Cardinal’s win over Notre Dame and left the thing up for grabs again.

As I searched YouTube for a recap video of Luck’s final game at Stanford Stadium I believe a Fighting Irish fan summed it up well by channeling M*A*S*H…

I don’t even know what that means!

The (regular) season is over for Richardson so he won’t have another chance to make a statement. Luck’s Cardinal don’t get another chance either since Oregon won the Pac-12 North. Baylor will play host to Texas next week in Waco, but Griffin’s status is up in the air due to his injury.

If none play again, I think I’d vote Luck. Someone will yell at me for that. Go ahead.

5. Houston is a Conference USA Championship Game win over Southern Miss away from playing in a BCS Bowl.

Fourth on the list (of three) candidates to win the Heisman is Cougars QB Case Keenum, who shredded Tulsa Friday in a manner similar to the way he’s shredded everyone else he’s played this season.

If the Cougars top the Golden Eagles in next week’s C-USA title game, they’ll become the first ever team from the conference to make a BCS bowl. Teams from the WAC and Mountain West have played BCS buster, but never C-USA.

Someone will call the occasion “historic”. Those people won’t really know what the word historic means.

6. Another reason why I like Tim Tebow? Sabermetricians would hate him.

He effing did it again, huh?

You know what’s the ONLY THING IN THE WORLD that could make us not spend the entire week talking about the Denver Broncos’ QB? How about a picture of San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak peeing on the sidelines at Qualcomm Stadium?

Thanks CBS!

7. Mark Sanchez also really pissed off a lot of haters Sunday.

The New York Jets’ QB threw for four TD’s, including a game winner to Santonio Holmes in their win over the Buffalo Bills…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJtRuC19Ab8

We’ll of course remember the game as the time Bills WR Stevie Johnson insisted on making a complete ass out of himself…

…again.

Dan Marino was asked about what he thought of Sanchez Sunday, but he was too busy checking out Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge’s boobs to respond…

And here’s my cue to post another VS picture of Aldridge…

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Towson Announces Hoops Recruiting Class

Posted on 09 November 2011 by WNST Staff

Towson Men’s Basketball Announces Stellar 2012-13 Recruiting Class

Tigers Ink Four Standouts During Early Signing Period

TOWSON, Md. – Towson University head men’s basketball coach Pat Skerry announced Wednesday that power forward Barrington Alston, combo guard Jerome Hairston, point guard Frank Mason and forward Timajh Parker-Rivera have signed national letters of intent to attend Towson and compete for the Tigers. The incoming quartet signals the start to the early signing period, in which recruiting analysts predict Towson’s class to rank as one of the best in program history.

“This is a major day for Towson men’s basketball,” Coach Skerry said. “These guys are going to be cornerstones of the program for quite some time. We’re expecting them to make immediate impacts on the floor. They have all proven to be high character guys with great work ethic both on the court and in the classroom.”

BARRINGTON ALSTON
Forward, 6-8, 220
New Hampton School/Wilmington, Del.

Alston is a three-star prospect according to both Rivals.com & Scout.com. The Wilmington, Del. native is the third-ranked player in the state of Delaware by ESPN.com and is listed as the 37th best power forward in the class of 2012. Alston is a strong and very athletic left-handed power forward. He excels in transition due in large part because of his ability to finish above the rim over or around defenders. Alston played AAU basketball for one of the top programs in the country, Team Takeover (DC), coached by Keith Stevens.

Skerry on Alston: “We’re really excited about Barrington. He’s a long, powerful and very athletic lefthander. He comes to us from the New Hampton School, coached by Pete Hutchins, which plays in arguably the most competitive league in the country. We expect him to have an immediate impact on the defensive end of the floor. He’s a tremendous shot-blocker and rebounder and a high character guy.”


JEROME HAIRSTON

Guard, 6-3, 185
Christ School/Roanoke, Va.

Hairston is a Rivals.com Top-150 member, who is rated as the No. 114 overall prospect in the country. Scout.com ranks Hairston as the 18th best point guard in the country and he is listed as a three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. The Roanoke, Va. native was a First Team All-State selection in Virginia in 2010 and he played AAU ball for East Coach Fusion (Va.), coached by Cade Lemcke. Although he’s a natural point guard, Hairston can score the ball, especially in transition where he is extremely dangerous. Hairston was selected to participate in the exclusive NBPA Top-100 camp and the Chris Paul CP3 All-American Point Guard camp in 2011.

Skerry on Alston: “Jerome is a versatile guard that can play the one or two spot. He’s an exceptional athlete that can shoot, score and pass. He’s a Rivals Top 120 player and we beat out some high level programs to get him. Jerome has the opportunity to be a major impact guy for us right away.”

FRANK MASON
Guard, 6-0, 170
Petersburg High School/Petersburg, Va.

Mason is a three-star prospect by Scout.com who ranks as the 26th best point guard in this class, according to ESPN.com. He led the state of Virginia in scoring last year, averaging 27.4 points per game. Mason scored over 30 points 13 times, including a career-high 46 points in one contest. Additionally, he averaged 5.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.5 steals per game at Petersburg High School in 2010. The Petersburg, Va. native was named First Team All-Met, All-Conference and All-State in Virginia as a junior. Mason is a true point guard with excellent ball-handling skills. He pushes the ball aggressively in transition and does a great job of getting to the rim. The guard played AAU ball for Team Loaded (VA), coached by Ty White.

Skerry on Mason: “As a junior, Frank led the state of Virginia in scoring. He’s a jet with the ball and gets wherever he wants on the court. He’s built like a fire hydrant. I love his competitiveness. He’s a guy that’s a great talent and gets after it on the court. His talent will give us an immediate boost.”

TIMAJH PARKER-RIVERA
Forward, 6-7, 210
St. Joseph High School/Bridgeport, Conn.

Parker-Rivera is rated as the No. 2 player in the state of Connecticut by ESPN.com and is a three-star prospect according to Scout.com. He is a two-time All-State selection in Connecticut as well as a two-time All-FCIAC performer. The Bridgeport, Conn. native averaged a double-double with 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in 2010, leading St. Joe’s to a state championship and earning tournament MVP honors along the way. Parker-Rivera was invited to the Reebok All-American camp in 2011 and played for the Connecticut Basketball Club, coached by J.R. Hargreaves.

Skerry on Parker-Rivera: “T.J. Parker is a versatile forward who can play inside and out. His perimeter game is improving and he’s physically ready for this level. T.J. has a really good feel for the game and he was sought after by many Atlantic-10 schools. He’s a warrior type of a guy who we are really excited about.”

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cleare

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Maryland Announces Hoops Recruiting Class

Posted on 09 November 2011 by WNST Staff

Terps Sign Three for Men’s Basketball

Trio puts Maryland 17th in ESPN.com team rankings

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland signed three players to National Letters-of-Intent on Wednesday, with the additions of Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman placing the Terrapins’ class 17th on ESPN.com’s national team ranking.

Allen is a 6-foot-2 guard from Fredericksburg, Va.; Cleare is a 6 -9 center from Houston and Layman is a 6-8 forward from Wrentham, Mass. The quality of the signing class, given the recent arrival of head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff on the Maryland campus, has drawn national attention.

“We’re very pleased with our class for 2012 so far,” said head coach Mark Turgeon, in his first season at Maryland. “We’ve added three quality players with great character who will fit in with our Maryland Basketball family.

“All three are very skilled basketball players who have a great feel for the game. My entire staff and the administration did a fantastic job in helping us secure these kids.”

Cleare and Layman are four-star recruits and part of ESPNU’s Top 100 prospects, according to ESPN.com. Allen is a three-star prospect and has graded at 89 on the same website. Allen was the first recruit to commit to being part of Turgeon’s program.

“I think they’ve gotten some guys who have shown that this staff, from a national perspective, will be very aggressive,” said Dave Telep, a national recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. “Turgeon is an astute evaluator of talent. If you look at this class, it’s a total national class. He’s been able to leverage some relationships he already had.

“When evaluating recruiting, and the way the calendar is now, the second year a staff is at a school is usually the better year. If you look at the class they’ve gotten, this is a very good opening effort.”

SETH ALLEN (6-2, 195, SG, Fredericksburg, Va., Fredericksburg Christian School)

Was Coach Mark Turgeon’s first commitment at Maryland… A combination guard who was ranked by ESPN.com as the sixth-best prospect in the state of Virginia… A three-star recruit who graded at 89 from ESPN… Athletic guard with 40-inch vertical leap… Led Fredericksburg Christian to a 31-2 record and conference title as a junior… Averaged 24 points, four assists, 3.5 steals and hit 92 3-pointers as a junior… Had 23 points against Montrose Christian last season… Turned 17 years old in October… Left-handed shooter… Travel team was Hoop Booth… Chose Maryland over Clemson, Old Dominion, VCU, Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Turgeon on Allen: “Seth is a very explosive athlete and scorer. He has a great feel for the game, is very good in the pick-and-roll and will be a great defender for us. Seth is a local kid with a great family who will represent Maryland the right way.”

Seth Allen: “I feel like it’s a big relief that I don’t have to go through recruitment anymore and I know I found the right school. Maryland fits me best, so it’s a big relief and I’m really happy that I’ve finally signed. My family was a big part of this and Maryland being so close was important. I wanted my family to be able to see me play. I really like Coach Turgeon and the rest of the coaching staff and I get along with the players. When I went on my official visit the coaches really motivated me; they just want everybody to get better. I think I fit in with the offense and defense so well and I think it’s going to be a good year when I get there.”

Joe Allen, father: “We’re very excited for Seth to sign with the University of Maryland and to have the chance to play at such a prestigious school. The academics, the way they have it set up, we know our son will succeed and graduate. The bigger part of it is that the coaching staff, from [Director of Athletics Kevin] Anderson on down is just absolutely, incredibly family-oriented. Seth comes from a strong family background. We can’t speak enough about the family atmosphere, the way they made us feel comfortable. It’s just a good feeling to know that he’s going into that kind of atmosphere. We’re excited about the outcome and the making of the young man that the staff at Maryland is going to build on.”

Coach Darren Berkley, Fredericksburg Christian School: “Seth is a special player… Every game he did something that amazed our coaching staff. Not only is Seth a great scorer, he has great moves and he is mentally tough. Seth’s teammates love him and want to play on his team. He has great leadership qualities and a magnetic personality that people are attracted to… My expectations are high for Seth. I truly believe he will be successful at Maryland.”

Craig Boothe, Hoop Booth Team: “Seth has by far exceeded the skill level of some of the other players in our program who have gone to Division I. I think his going to Maryland is a great fit from the perspective that he’s a family-oriented kid. Having him close will allow some of our local people to have access. He’s a great kid who was under the radar screen a little… I think this is a match made in heaven.”

SHAQUILLE CLEARE (6-9, 270, C, Houston, Texas, The Village School)

Consensus four-star prospect who is ranked as the sixth-best center in the nation by ESPN.com… Ranked 39th overall among the ESPNU Top 100… Graded at 95 by ESPN’s scouts… Has excellent strength and power which leads to solid rebounding at both ends of the floor… “A big body post with off-the-charts upside,” according to ESPN.com… Travel team was the Houston Defenders… Native of the Bahamas… Chose Maryland over Arizona, Texas, Baylor and Miami.

Turgeon on Cleare: “Shaq will give us a big, physical presence in the paint. He will be a great defender and low-post scorer for us, and for his size, he is a very explosive athlete. He is a great young man who really wanted to be at Maryland and is being very well coached by Don Harvey.”

Shaquille Cleare: “”It’s a strong conference, they have great coaches and they’re good at developing players. When Coach Turgeon left A&M and went to Maryland, it turned out well. It was so shocking to me, it was a big surprise. I think Coach Turgeon will do great things at Maryland.”

Aaron Harrison, Houston Defenders (AAU) Coach: “He’s a little different than most in that now nobody wants to play with their back to the basket. That’s how he plays and he has the best hands that I’ve seen in such a long time. I don’t think there’s a limit to his potential to be honest. If you play him one-on-one, because he’s so big and strong, he puts his body on the defender and scores. Over the summer time, we looked at it and he scored 72 percent of the time we gave him the ball on the box. He’s come a long way. He’s only been in the country for four years and when I first met him he always had good hands and feet, but he’s worked so hard to make himself better. He’s come such a long way.”

Pat Clatchey, Mount Saint Joseph’s HS (Baltimore) Head Coach: “I had the opportunity to coach Shaquille at the NBA top-100 camp. I found him to be a terrific young man on and off the court. He’s very polite and respectful off the court, engaging personality, and all business when he gets on the court. He has a big body, great hands and good footwork. He’s an interior scorer and a pretty good interior passer. I think the thing he’s going to have to develop at the next level is conditioning and getting used to day-in and day-out playing against strong and athletic bodies. But I think he’s a very good acquisition for Maryland basketball.”

Don Harvey, Village School Head Coach: “He was really, really intrigued by Coach [Gary] Williams. That’s what got it started. When Coach Williams left, Shaq was a little down about that. So we had to get him back up. The next school on his list was [Texas] A&M, and then [Mark] Turgeon ended up going to Maryland, so that made it even more [attractive]. … I think he fell in love with Maryland… (Turgeon) is a guy who you can believe is going to do things the right way. He’s going to build your character and your heart. You feel him when you talk to him. He really, and I mean really, likes Coach Turgeon.”

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “He’s an anchor recruit. He’ll definitely grow within the program and he’s capable enough and has broad enough shoulders that he’s going to be able to be a main guy for a couple years. What is really impressive is he’s got very good touch. He’s a legitimate offensive player in the lane and is tough. He’ll be able to come into the ACC and know his way around.”

JAKE LAYMAN (6-8, 190, SF, Wrentham, Mass., King Philip Regional HS)

Listed by ESPN.com as the top recruit from the state of Massachusetts… Graded at 94 by the website, which has him 11th nationally among small forwards… Ranked 53rd nationally on ESPNU’s Top 100… Long, athletic player with deceptive quickness… Averaged 24.6 points, 15.6 rebounds, 7.1 blocks as a junior at King Philip Regional… Travel team was Boston Amateur Basketball Club under the guidance of Celtics administrator Leo Papile… Chose Maryland over Syracuse, Louisville, Florida, Notre Dame and Providence

Turgeon on Layman: “Jake is a very skilled and explosive athlete who is improving at a big-time rate. Jake has all three phases in his game with the ability to knock down the 3, shoot the mid-range, plus get all the way to the basket. He is also a tremendous defender with great anticipation. Jake comes from a great family, and we are excited about welcoming into our basketball family.”

Jake Layman: “It’s a dream come true for me to sign with Maryland and I couldn’t be happier. The school, Coach Turgeon and all the other coaches, I love them and I get along with the players really well so that was good. The coaching staff is down to earth and easy to talk to so that made me feel comfortable. I know they’re all tough coaches so I think that will help me grow a lot. I’m very excited about the opportunity to play in the best conference in America and play at the Comcast Center.”

Claire Layman, mother: “For my husband and I and our whole family, when we came for the official visit, with Coach Turgeon, Coach Spinelli and the entire coaching staff, we just had such a feeling that this was the right place for Jake. We felt all along that the ACC was a good fit for Jake’s skill set and I think with the University, over the recruiting period, what became clear to us is how important it was for Jake to be able to play where his family could be part of it too… The basketball was really important to Jake but just the University itself I think has everything Jake wants academically and it just was a really good fit. Maryland has so much to offer and it was really just a perfect fit.”

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “When Jake hit his stride this summer, you were either there to see it or you weren’t. For those who saw it, he immediately became a priority recruit. What not many people will know is he’s a heck of a defensive player. In one tournament where they kept stats, he certainly led everyone in steals per minute.”

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “Jake has a lot of tools and is just scratching the surface of his potential. He can shoot and score in a lot of ways. He’s also got athleticism and size to go along with his scoring ability. He’s a guy who is going to get better each and every day.”

Leo Papile, Boston Amateur Basketball Club: “He’s a young, developing guy with enormous potential and upside. The best is yet to come… At 6-9, with the ability to guard guys down on the floor, he’s totally unique for American basketball. He’s a wing… You put him on the ball and, in our (full-court) defense, he just wreaks havoc with his mobility. He was bound to just make an enormous impact on the national scene.”

Coach Sean McInnis, King Philip Regional HS: “It’s a fantastic time for Jake and his family. They’re really looking forward to being a part of the Maryland family… I think when you look around the country, he’s probably the only kid who’s 6-8 that plays the point… I think what Maryland was looking for was a student-athlete that’s going to come in, defend, and play a couple positions while at the same time playing in transition, utilizing some size at the guard position.”

THE CLASS OVERALL

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “This class is well-balanced between guys who can help immediately and guys who can be brought along and will make their mark in the ACC. Mark does a good job of evaluating players and a good job of developing them. He’s put together an all-star recruiting staff there. When they’re not out recruiting, they’re thinking about recruiting.”

Some quotes courtesy The Baltimore Sun.

– Terps –

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Bumpy road ahead to new NFL CBA agreement

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Chris Pika

ATLANTA—As word leaked out that the NFL owners had voted 31-0 on their proposal for a settlement of legal issues and the terms of a new CBA last night, rumors that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith had been on the phone during a prolonged (and unplanned) dinner break by the owners seemed to suggest that there was an agreement in principle in place.

As we found out not more than 15 minutes after the NFL’s press conference at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott announcing their vote and going over the particulars of the league’s proposal, the howls of protest via social media by players and leaking of two NFLPA emails from Smith and NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen seemed to suggest that the players were blindsided by the owners.

It should have been clear (but wasn’t at the time) that the men lined up behind Goodell during the press conference — NFL Executive VP of Labor/League Counsel Jeff Pash, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, New York Giants owner John Mara, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt — never once smiled, even wearily, as the months of negotiations were at an end.

They knew what we were finding out. The road to ratification is filled with bumps that could still derail the process. It’s easy (in some respects) to get 32 people to agree to a proposal (the supplemental revenue sharing deal brokered during the day between the owners was a bigger story that got lost in the later events). It’s harder to get 1,900 people to share one vision, especially when there are competing personal interests inside the group.

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Trial balloon floated by NFL owners

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Chris Pika

For several weeks, there have been precious little details on what the NFL owners and players have shared between themselves on a framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Even during the “secret” talks between the sides over the last three weeks with U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan as mediator, nothing was revealed.

That changed today as ESPN.com’s Chris Mortenson reported on what the NFL owners are proposing as their potential two-day meeting heads to a one-day conclusion in Chicago before talks between the owners and players resume later this week.

The quick outline, based on Mortenson’s report:

  • Players receive 48 percent of all revenue
  • Owners will not take $1 billion cost credit off the top as in past CBA
  • Owners will get some credits for stadium construction
  • Rookie wage scale will be included, but adjustments are still being made
  • Teams must spend between 90-93 percent of salary cap
  • The proposed 18-game regular-season schedule is negotiable, not mandated
  • New 16-game Thursday night TV package in 2012 to be revenue driver
  • Retired players to get increased health and pension funding

Also, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, when an agreement is reached, those unsigned players who have been in free-agent limbo with four, five and six years of service will be unrestricted free agents, and the franchise tag will still be in existence.

A good deal tends to be where both sides give a little and leave not getting everything. If this is the eventual framework, the players take a lesser percentage of all revenues (below 50 percent), owners can’t take as much off the top as they wanted and teams have to spend more of the cap.

This is the key trial balloon, as whoever leaked the info to Mortenson had to have done so with some blessing of league higher-ups. Now we wait for the players’ reaction and the negotiations to restart soon.

There is a long way to go — and a lot can still go wrong — but this is the first real hope of a resumption of NFL football since the owners locked out the players in mid-March after talks broke down.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Turgeon Formally Announces Maryland Staff

Posted on 20 May 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official release, courtesy of the Terps’ Sports Information Department…

TURGEON ANNOUNCES COACHING STAFF

Spinelli, Hill join Ranson as assistant coaches

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Head men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon announced Friday that Scott Spinelli, Dalonte Hill and Bino Ranson will be the assistant coaches on his new Terrapin staff. In addition, Dustin Clark has been hired as the director of basketball operations.

“I feel good about the talent of the assistant coaches we have assembled,” said Turgeon. “They all have their own unique abilities as coaches that, as a group, will make us complete. They all have been successful recruiting this part of the country and will be a big part of the resurgence of Maryland Basketball.”

Spinelli will join Turgeon for the sixth straight season, having worked with him during each of Turgeon’s four years at Texas A&M and for one season at Wichita State. He was the Aggies’ associate head coach and helped direct the program to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Hill, a native of Washington, D.C., will join the Terrapins’ staff after six seasons at Kansas State. Long noted for his recruiting ties to the D.C. area, Hill helped a resurgence in the Wildcat basketball program that had Kansas State hit the 20-win plateau for a school-record five straight years.

Ranson will be retained as an assistant after he spent last season on the staff of retired coach Gary Williams. A native of Baltimore, Ranson has strong recruiting ties in that area and aided in the recent recruitment and retention of shooting guard Nick Faust.

Clark has been an athletics assistant for three years and, last year, moved into the role as team administrator on Turgeon’s staff with the Aggies. A graduate of Texas A&M, he has played an important role in recruiting and in the recent success of the Aggies’ basketball program.

Bios on the new staff members follow:

SCOTT SPINELLI

Hometown: Leominster, Mass.

Education: Boston University ‘89

Following five seasons on various staffs for head coach Mark Turgeon, Scott Spinelli comes to College Park to be part of the coaching staff at the University of Maryland.

“Scott is a bulldog recruiter with tremendous connection up and down the east coast,” said Turgeon. “He is also an excellent coach with a tremendous basketball mind.”

Spinelli sent four seasons with Turgeon as the associate head coach at Texas A&M, and was in the same position with Turgeon at Wichita State in 2006-07.

Prior to that, he was an assistant at Nebraska for three seasons, when he helped land two nationally-ranked recruiting classes. He was the Cornhuskers’ associate head coach in 2005-06. All-Big 12 center Aleks Maric was among the players he signed at Nebraska.

From 2001-03, Spinelli was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Loyola-Chicago. He helped the Ramblers to 32 wins over two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03) — the program’s most in a two-year span since the mid-1980s — including a berth in the championship game of the 2002 Horizon League Tournament.

Spinelli recruited and developed Paul McMillan, a junior-college transfer who won the Horizon League’s Newcomer of the Year Award in 2003. His first recruiting class for the Ramblers also included Terrance Whiters, who was ranked among the top 70 overall prospects in the country and among the top 20 point guards by ESPN.com.

Spinelli has been recognized by several media outlets as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches. Before joining the Ramblers, Spinelli spent one year as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, evaluating players in the Big East and Atlantic 10 conferences, along with high school players from the Northeast.

Spinelli served as an assistant coach for Cincinnati of the International Basketball League (IBL) in 1999-2000, helping the Stuff to an Eastern Conference regular-season championship.

Prior to his work in the IBL, Spinelli spent two years as associate head coach (1997-99) at American University in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for two nationally-recognized recruiting classes. Spinelli’s first collegiate coaching stop came at Wyoming in 1996-97.

He began his coaching career on the prep level in 1990 at the Milford Academy, where he spent three seasons as head coach. In 1993, Spinelli started the basketball program at The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he produced several Division I players. The school remains one of the top prep school programs in the Northeast.

The Leominster, Mass., native earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University in 1989. As a student-athlete, Spinelli initially walked on with the Terriers before earning a scholarship as a point guard under Mike Jarvis, who went on to a successful stint as head coach at St. John’s.

Spinelli and his wife, Lynn, have three children: Gianna, Gabriel and Joseph.

SPINELLI CAREER

2007-11 – Associate Head Coach, Texas A&M
2006-07 – Associate Head Coach, Wichita State
2005-06 – Associate Head Coach, Nebraska
2003-05 – Assistant Coach, Nebraska
2001-03 – Assistant Coach, Loyola-Chicago
2000-01 – Scout, Philadelphia 76ers
1999-00 – Assistant Coach, Cincinnati Stuff
1997-99 – Associate Head Coach, American University
1996-97 – Assistant Coach, Wyoming
1993-96 – Head Coach, Winchendon (Mass.) School
1990-93 – Head Coach, Milford (N.Y.) Academy

DALONTE HILL

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Education: Charlotte ‘01

Noted as one of the top coaches and recruiters nationally, Dalonte Hill is coming home to the Washington, D.C., area to join the staff of head coach Mark Turgeon.

“It was great to be able to bring Dalonte home,” said Turgeon. “He is a terrific recruiter and will be a great addition to our staff. His relationships on the east coast will be huge for the growth of our program.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Hill was hired as an assistant coach at Kansas State by former head coach Bob Huggins in April 2006 after three seasons at Charlotte.  He was elevated to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator just over a year later upon the promotion of Frank Martin to head coach.

Hill played a significant role in helping to revitalize the K-State program, which has tallied five consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.  With his help, the Wildcats have posted 118 wins the past five seasons, including 50 in Big 12 play, and have advanced to the postseason in an unprecedented five straight seasons, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The 118 wins are the most in school history in a five-year span, shattering the previous mark of 107 wins set from 1957-62, while the 50 conference victories are the most since the squad posted 56 from 1971-76.  K-State is one of four Big 12 schools (along with Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M) in that span to total five 20-win seasons, while the Wildcats and Jayhawks are the only teams to finish in the top-4 in the Big 12 and receive a bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in each of the past five seasons.

Hill has also played a major role in helping Kansas State land some of the country’s best recruiting classes, including the nation’s top-rated class by Scout.com and Rivals.com in 2006, which included No. 1 recruit Michael Beasley and No. 6 recruit Bill Walker.  In 2008, he helped the Wildcats pull down their second top-20 class in the past three seasons, including their fourth McDonald’s All-American (and second in last four seasons) in Wally Judge.  The four-man class was rated 17th by Scout/ESPN.com and 18th by Rivals.com.

Hill spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Charlotte under Bobby Lutz.  He helped guide his alma mater to a 61-30 (.760) overall record and three consecutive postseason appearances from 2003-06, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament (2004, 2005).  He also helped the 49ers to a share of the 2004 Conference USA regular-season title as well as runner-up finishes in C-USA in 2004-05 and the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06.

During his tenure at Charlotte, Hill helped coach two All-Americans, one C-USA Player of the Year and seven all-conference players. Two 49ers earned All-America distinction as Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers were named to SI.com’s third team and honorable mention lists in 2005.  Withers was also named to Basketball Times’ All-America third team in 2004.  A two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year, Basden was selected as the 2005 Conference USA Player of the Year as well as the national Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.

Prior to joining the college ranks, Hill served two years as the head coach of the AAU’s DC Assault.

A three-year letterman at Charlotte from 1997-2000, Hill played on three postseason squads for the 49ers under head coaches Melvin Watkins and Bobby Lutz.  As a true freshman in 1997-98, he averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 26 games with one start for the 49ers in helping the squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 20-11 record.  As a sophomore, the 49ers captured the 1999 Conference USA Tournament title and once again advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round with a 23-11 record.  During the 1999-2000 season, he averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 23 games with 11 starts in helping Charlotte earn a Postseason NIT bid with a 17-16 record.

Hill transferred to Bowie State for his senior season where he averaged 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in helping the Bulldogs to a 19-9 record.  He returned to Charlotte following the season to complete his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2001.

Hill and his wife, Tish, have three daughters: Danae, Dakotah and Daeja.

HILL CAREER

2007-11 – Associate Head Coach, Kansas State
2006-07 – Assistant Coach, Kansas State
2003-06 – Assistant Coach, Charlotte
2001-03 – Head Coach D.C. Assault (AAU)

ORLANDO “BINO” RANSON

Hometown: Baltimore, Md.

Education: Southern New Hampshire ‘99

Orlando “Bino” Ranson was hired as an assistant coach at Maryland in the summer of 2010, and the halls of Comcast Center immediately lit up with energy. He has been retained on the staff by new head coach Mark Turgeon.

“Bino is a young man I have known for a long time, and I have watched him grow as a coach,” said Turgeon. “He is a grinder when it comes to recruiting and he has many connections all over the east coast.”

Ranson has strong ties to the Baltimore-Washington area, having coached for two seasons at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. He came to Maryland after one season as an assistant at Xavier, during which the Musketeers went 26-9 and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. In his lone season on the staff of Maryland head coach Gary Williams in 2010-11, the Terrapins went 19-14.

Ranson said he’s followed the Maryland program for a long time and is familiar with its national reputation and rich history. He spent two years as an administrative assistant at Loyola University on the staff of long-time Maryland assistant Jimmy Patsos.

Prior to Xavier, Ranson was an assistant coach at James Madison for one season, helping the Dukes to a 21-15 mark, the most wins by JMU in a season since 1992-93. The Dukes advanced in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament for the first time since 2003 and their berth in the College Insiders.com Tournament marked their first postseason appearance since 1994.

Ranson also worked for Matt Brady at Marist University for three seasons. The Red Foxes were 62-33 in those three seasons and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season in 2007. That season, Marist won at Oklahoma State in the Postseason NIT.

Considered an outstanding recruiter, he helped bring in excellent classes at James Madison, Marist and Xavier. Ranson helped land Jay Gavin at Marist, who went on to become the MAAC Rookie of the Year.

Ranson coached at St. Frances Academy for two seasons before joining the Loyola staff. He handled St. Frances’ junior-varsity program, directing the 2003-04 team to a 24-5 record, titles in the MIAA and the Baltimore Catholic League. He also founded Team Baltimore, one of the top AAU programs in the Northeast.

Among the players Ranson worked with at the AAU level are Sean Mosley and Juan Dixon of Maryland, Ricky Harris of Massachusetts, Jermaine Dixon of Pittsburgh and Donte Greene of Syracuse.

A 1999 graduate of Southern New Hampshire with a B.S. in sports management, Ranson completed his collegiate career as one of the top players in the history of the school. He ranked seventh in career scoring (1,899 points), fifth in assists (598) and fourth in 3-point field goals (226) after lettering for four seasons. He was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in January 2007.

Ranson and his wife, Shannon, have two sons: Orlando and Bradshaw.

RANSON CAREER

2010-11 – Assistant Coach, Maryland
2009-10 – Assistant Coach, Xavier
2008-09 – Assistant Coach, James Madison
2004-05 to 2006-07 – Assistant Coach, Marist
2003-04 & 2004-05 – Administrative Assistant, Loyola, Md.
2001-02 to 2002-03 – Coach, St. Francis Academy

DUSTIN CLARK

Hometown: Waxahachie, Texas

Education: Texas A&M ‘07

Dustin Clark comes to the Maryland men’s basketball program as the director of basketball operations on the staff of head coach Mark Turgeon. In that role, Clark will be in charge of the administrative duties in the men’s basketball office, including scheduling, operations and travel.

“Dustin is one of the bright young coaches in this business,” said Turgeon. “He has tremendous passion for his job and will build great relationships with our current players. His understanding and experience of how I want the office and program to run is big in our transition.”

Clark spent five seasons with the Texas A&M basketball program. After serving as an athletics assistant for three years, he was the team administrator in the 2010-11 season. During his five seasons, the Aggies won 124 games, produced three NBA draft picks and had Turgeon earn back-to-back Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.

His duties included on-campus recruiting, coordination of recruiting correspondence, academic quality control and student-athlete affairs. Clark was the director of the Mark Turgeon Basketball Camp, as well as a coordinator for the Texas A&M Elite and Junior Elite camps. He has played a key role in helping the Aggies land multiple nationally ranked recruiting classes.

In 2008, the Aggies won the Preseason NIT and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they lost in the closing seconds to top-seeded UCLA. A&M closed the next regular season on a six-game winning streak and again reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In 2010, Texas A&M reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament despite playing the second-toughest schedule in the nation. A year ago, the Aggies exploded to a 16-1 start, the best at the school in 91 years and earned its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.

A native of Waxahachie, Texas, Clark received his degree from Texas A&M in 2007. Clark graduated from Avalon High School, where he was a four-year letterman in both basketball and baseball.

CLARK CAREER

2010-11 – Team Administrator, Texas A&M
2007-10 – Athletic Assistant, Texas A&M
2006-07 – Student Assistant, Texas A&M

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Early Reports Wrong as Sean Miller Now Staying at Arizona

Posted on 07 May 2011 by WNST Staff

After a wild Saturday of reports (including an initial report from ESPN 980-WTEM-in Washington, DC) saying University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller was set to replace Gary Williams as basketball coach at the University of Maryland, things got even wilder after midnight.

A late night Twitter update from U of A Athletic Director Greg Byrne said the following…

“Breaking news: Internet speculation wrong. Sean Miller is staying at Arizona as our hoops coach.”

An ensuing press release from Byrne confirmed the Tweet.

“Sean and I have had many positive conversations and have been working on a revised contract for some time” said Byrne in the release. “I’m pleased to confirm that we have agreed to an amendment to Sean’s contract that we hope will keep him in Tucson for many years to come.”

This appears to mean that a western trip from Terrapins Athletic Director and Baltimore Ravens owner/Terps booster Steve Bisciotti is for naught, and the school will be forced to consider other candidates.

Multiple reports have suggested Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon has already removed his name from consideration. Other rumored candidates include Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, Villanova’s Jay Wright, VCU’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens.

The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that Brey is closer to agreeing on a contract extension with the Fighting Irish. CSN Philadelphia reported Saturday that Wright will not be leaving Villanova.

Anderson and Bisciotti reportedly traveled to Las Vegas Saturday to meet with Miller at a Nike Coaches Clinic. Anderson’s visit was originally reported by FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman, Bisciotti’s inclusion was originally reported by Comcast SportsNet’s Chick Hernandez.

Bisciotti’s involvement in the school’s coaching search came just 24 hours after he told WNST.net’s Glenn Clark decisively “no” when asked if he would be involved in the process. Clark interviewed Bisciotti at Williams’ retirement press conference in College Park Friday.

Miller appeared to be the frontrunner for the job, as the Ellwood City, Pennsylvania native was reported to be interested in returning to the East Coast. It is not immediately known why he made the decision to stay with the Wildcats.

Follow @WNST on Twitter for more details as they emerge.

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Ravens Making Final Decisions As Draft Season Comes to Close

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Ravens Making Final Decisions As Draft Season Comes to Close

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

As the NFL’s labor situation finally appears to be approaching closure, we’re just hours away from the start of the 2011 NFL Draft (8pm NFL Network & ESPN).

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU), Jeremiah Masoli (Ole Miss), Ricky Stanzi (Iowa), Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford), Shaun Chapas (Georgia)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama), Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech), Mikel Leshoure (Illinois), Darren Evans (Virginia Tech), Stevan Ridley (LSU)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska), Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State), Greg Little (UNC)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State), DeMarcus Love (Arkansas), James Brewer (Indiana)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor), Will Rackley (Lehigh), Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State), Mike Pouncey (Florida)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State), Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Sam Acho (Texas), Ryan Winterswyk (Boise State), Christian Ballard (Iowa), Ricky Elmore (Arizona), Robert Quinn (North Carolina), Jabaal Sheard (Pitt)
DT-Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple), Corey Liuget (Illinois)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), Alex Wujciak (Maryland), Akeem Dent (Georgia), Justin Houston (Georgia), Akeem Ayers (UCLA), Jonathan Cornell (Mississippi)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida), Will Hill (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami), Ras-I Dowling (Virginia), Richard Sherman (Stanford), Brandon Burton (Utah), Curtis Marsh (Utah State), Chris Culliver (South Carolina), Buster Skrine (Chattanooga), Justin Rogers (Richmond)
K-Kemar Scarlett (Morgan State)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indy
Parts 8910-A look at players who participated in early Pro Timing Days
Parts 11 & 12-Players the Ravens have shown direct interest in

The Baltimore Ravens (obviously) made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten final prospects we have yet to profile during Draft season.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, NFL.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Cam Jordan (Cal)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOx7bqKP4m0[/youtube]

Fewer and fewer folks believe the former Golden Bears pass rusher will be on the board when the Ravens pick at 26. If he were to somehow slip, you’d assume GM Ozzie Newsome and company would be quick to grab him.

Jordan (6’4″, 287 pounds) has good speed (4.74 40) and had solid productivity (17 total sacks) during his career in Berkeley. It’s very clear why he’s viewed as a Top 20 pick.

Conversation about Jordan almost has to include a nod to his father (Steve Jordan), who was a six time Pro Bowl TE for the Minnesota Vikings during his own very solid 13 year NFL career.

I mocked Jordan to the San Diego Chargers in our Morning Reaction First Round Draft this week. I just don’t see him getting to 26. But if he somehow did, I would have to assume he would be donning purple.

RB Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64ohYkArJfU[/youtube]

Which do you think Jones has been asked about more during Draft season: jumping backwards out of a pool or playing football on red turf?

Both are pretty cool.

Jones (6’0″, 196 pounds) has TREMENDOUS speed (4.35 40) and was unbelievably productive during his college career in Cheney. He finished with 3,858 yards of total offense and 36 total TD’s over the last two seasons with the Eagles. He capped his career by helping EWU defeat Delaware in the FCS title game.

Jones is one of a number of backs who decided to leave school a season early this year despite not being guaranteed an early selection in the Draft. Those backs have clearly seen a pattern in the NFL where teams get more and more concerned with the number of carries a player brings with him to his pro career.

That being said, teams are always apt to add additional runners-with significant carries coming for 3-5 backs per team anymore. The Ravens have an interesting situation in their own backfield; as they will be looking to complement Ray Rice. Willis McGahee is expected to be released, Le’Ron McClain is a free agent and is a question mark to return at best.

The Ravens might need more size/bulk than what Jones has to offer, but his unique combination of decent size and amazing speed might be hard to pass up on as he’s available late Friday night and into Saturday.

WR Edmond Gates (Abilene Christian)

edmundgates

The comparisons to Chicago Bears WR Johnny Knox will be inevitable for Gates, especially after posting a 4.31 40-which was actually .03 quicker than his fellow former Wildcats receiver at the Combine. The knock on Knox (see what I did there?) has been his hands, and that will certainly be a question mark for Gates as well.

Gates had a sparkling senior season to wrap his career, grabbing 66 catches for 1,182 yards and 13 TD’s. It is a bit easier to dominate the Lone Star Conference than it is to dominate the SEC however.

Gates could be an intriguing option for a Ravens team desperately seeking a “home run” threat. He’s not huge (6’0″, 192 pounds); but his size certainly gives him potential “stretch the field” ability. They don’t have that in starters Anquan Boldin or Derrick Mason; and didn’t get it from free agents TJ Houshmandzadeh or Donte’ Stallworth a season ago.

Like Jones, Gates is likely a late Friday/early Saturday selection. Should the Ravens not go receiver early, they’d definitely be the type of team that could be in the market for a player the former ACU star.

CB Curtis Brown (Texas)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUr4wswq9us[/youtube]

While former Longhorns teammate Aaron Williams has received much more attention, plenty of teams have shown interest in Brown.

It makes sense, as there’s plenty about Brown to like. He has above average size (6’0″, 185 pounds) and solid speed (4.51 40). Despite finishing his career in Austin with just two interceptions, he managed to return one for a 77 yard touchdown.

Brown already has a tie to Charm City, as his uncle Hosea Taylor played DE for the Baltimore Colts in1981 & 1983 after a career at the University of Houston.

The Ravens don’t know the extent of their troubles at CB just yet. With this week’s developments in Minnesota, only Chris Carr and Fabian Washington are guaranteed to reach free agency under 2010 CBA rules. Josh Wilson could gain free agency under new CBA rules, but that scenario appears less and less likely. That would leave Wilson, Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb as the team’s top 3 corners with Cary Williams still behind them.

Many folks believe the Ravens will try to select Colorado’s Jimmy Smith in the first round of the Draft. If they don’t do that, it is widely believed the team will pick a corner at some point in the Draft despite the depth they appear to have. Brown is probably a Friday night selection, and could certainly be an intriguing one for the Ravens.

OT James Carpenter (Alabama)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp8wSEAEMP4[/youtube]

Well…we all know Newsome is SOMEHOW going to continue the Tuscaloosa to Baltimore pipeline, right?

The Ravens would certainly do well to add a player like Carpenter on Friday night, as they have major O-Line issues they’re dealing with. OT Jared Gaither is no guarantee to return-although the CBA issue could still have some effect on that.

Should Gaither depart, new O-Line coach Andy Moeller may decide to keep G/T Marshal Yanda at RT and Chris Chester at RG. The team got average to slightly above average production from that group a season ago.

The team would seem more likely to look for an upgrade at RT, which Carpenter could provide despite not being a first round caliber tackle.

Carpenter is a monster (6’4″, 321 pounds) who helped lead the way for a Heisman Trophy winner (RB Mark Ingram) and an undefeated QB (Greg McElroy) in 2009. He played two solid seasons for the Crimson Tide at LT after transferring from Coffeyville Community College.

All of the good ones come from Coffeyville, don’t they?

QB T.J. Yates (North Carolina)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_B8HCfUqv4[/youtube]

Yes, I think the Ravens are going to take a quarterback at some point during the Draft.

Yes, I think backup QB Marc Bulger will leave town during the offseason. (Heck, some folks are already talking about him as if he already played for the Arizona Cardinals.)

That being said, I don’t think the Ravens will be drafting a QB early during the weekend. I think they’ll look for a veteran backup and will instead draft a QB who can compete for a potential 3rd QB role behind Joe Flacco.

Yates (6’3″, 219 pounds) had an up and down career for the Tar Heels, but left Chapel Hill on a very high note. He threw for 3,418 yards and 19 TD’s as a senior with just nine interceptions mixed in.

He won’t be a Thursday or Friday selection, but he could certainly be a player for the Ravens to consider on Saturday.

There is a bit of a problem when it comes to Yates however.

On his bio, his hometown is listed as Marietta, Georgia. That’s all well and good. But then there’s an additional issue, courtesy of the UNC official site…

“Favorite NFL team is the Indianapolis Colts…Followed the Indianapolis Colts as a kid because he grew up in Indianapolis”

It’s just not going to work.

DE Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuBr52sVC5A[/youtube]

Breaking news. The Ravens are interested in pass rush help.

McPhee was not a pass rush monster during his career in Starkville (just seven sacks over two seasons after transferring from Itawamba Community College), but he was still effective.

He has good size (6’3″, 278 pounds) but his mobility has limited him (4.91 40).

He’s not Trevor Pryce, but he might be a nice complement to Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg and Cory Redding along the D-Line. He appears to be another late Friday/early Saturday selection; meaning he could be an option should the Ravens go elsewhere in the first two rounds.

He’s not “the answer”, but the former Bulldogs rusher could certainly be part of “the equation” in upgrading the pass rush this offseason.

CB Davon House (New Mexico State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9g1Ff0odmc[/youtube]

Totally off the radar until reports said he visited Owings Mills, the former NMSU corner now appears a more and more likely candidate to be selected by the Ravens.

House (6’1″, 200 pounds) matches his good size with solid speed (4.44 40) and was incredibly productive during his time with the Aggies. He finished his career in Las Cruces with 202 tackles, 11 interceptions (three returned for TD’s) and a forced fumble.

House could go anywhere from early Friday to mid-Saturday. Should the Ravens not select a corner like Smith in the first round, they could potentially add House later on in the weekend.

Did you miss House earlier this month with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST? Hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

TE Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6UwzaYPCq8[/youtube]

Every time I noticed Rudolph connected to the Ravens at 26, it was followed by the following statement.

“The Ravens are going to have to draft an heir apparent to Todd Heap at some point.”

I’m guessing the folks who wrote that didn’t pay much attention to the team’s Draft just a season ago.

The Ravens finished the 2010 season with four Tight Ends on the active roster (Heap, 2010 picks Ed Dickson & Dennis Pitta and 2009 pick Davon Drew). Drew still doesn’t appear to have much of a long-term role with the team, but the team certainly has high expectations for Dickson and Pitta.

Rudolph’s senior numbers are not at all impressive (28 catches, 328 yards, three TD’s), but he missed the final six games of the season due to a hamstring injury. Of course, that’s just another red flag teams will have to consider before selecting him.

He’s not likely to be an explosive offensive threat at the NFL level, but he certainly appears to be a solid NFL prospect at 6’6″, 259 pounds-even with a 4.83 40.

He’s going to go late Thursday or early Friday. I just doubt he’ll be getting introduced at 1 Winning Drive anytime soon.

P Travis Baltz (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oW9How9TAY[/youtube]

Two things.

1-The Ravens clearly aren’t interested in a punter. The extension they gave Sam Koch proves just how happy they are in their former Draft pick.

2-There is little to no chance the former Terrapins punter ends up getting picked, but he’s very likely to get picked up and be given a look.

Baltz finished his career in College Park with 224 punts for 9,224 yards-averaging 41.2 yards per boot. He also spent his senior season as the Terps’ kicker, making 14 of 18 field goals and 53 of 54 extra points.

Baltz’s first goal will be to get a Training Camp invite from….someone. It will be difficult for him to make it to an active roster, but reaching one goal first will help in his pursuit.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Where NFL-NFLPA labor fight stands (April 24)

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Chris Pika

We are on the brink of the first potential leverage either side in the NFL labor fight has had since the lockout by the owners was announced March 11 as Judge Susan Nelson of the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis is reportedly ready to rule on the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout as part of the Brady v. NFL lawsuit.

However, the victor in Judge Nelson’s ruling will have a short-lived time to celebrate as there will be an immediate appeal on the injunction ruling by the losing side. That means the real leverage for one side won’t be decided until the appeal is heard in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

To revisit the issues behind Brady v. NFL, National Football Post’s Andrew Brandt, who is also reporting on the labor fight for ESPN.com did a primer on March 18 for NFP.

Brandt did an update on April 20 which touched on the mediation brokered by Judge Nelson in advance of her decision and where the situation may be headed in the coming weeks.

Another pressure point will come May 12 when Judge David Doty will hold a hearing to decide damages in the TV lockout-funding case brought by the players against the owners. A major award to the players of money that the owners expected to have as a “war chest” in the lockout could also shift leverage. Doty ruled against the owners in the suit in early March.

Late last week, there were reports that some NFL players were interested in having a seat at the mediation table in Minneapolis. The NFLPA, through its’ NFLLockout.com web site, made an email public from an unspecified law firm looking for 70 potential clients to intervene in the mediation, which broke off April 20.

Meawhile, unlike the previous mediation talks in Washington with George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, where details were leaked almost daily, the mediation under Judge Arthur Boylan was done under a gag order which carried real legal issues if it was violated. The mediation talks under Judge Boylan were suspended on April 20 to resume May 16.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t news from the NFL in past two weeks. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held several conference calls with season-ticket holders of the Dolphins, Chargers, Giants and 49ers to go over the league’s positions on the labor issues.

The NFL also released its’ 2011 regular-season schedule. And ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter found that the league built in some safeguards to have a complete schedule even if the first three weeks are not played as planned.

In short, the league has asked Indianapolis to hold hotel rooms for another week to play Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, February 12 if needed. The league would also take away one of the two weeks between the conference championship games, so teams would have to head to Indy the day after winning their respective conference titles for Super Bowl week. Also, every Week 3 game has been safeguarded as the teams off in a particular bye week match up to their Week 3 opponent.

So, according to ESPN, the season could start as late as October 2 (Week 4) and a full 16-game schedule could be played.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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