Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Iowa's Ferentz earns honor from Connecticut

March 30, 2009

University of Iowa Sports Infomation

University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz has been selected to receive the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.

Ferentz received a B.A. in English Education from the Neag School in 1978. He is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to the University of Iowa. He took the Hawkeyes to six straight bowl games, the second longest streak in school history. He is a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and led his team to two Big Ten titles in four years.

Ferentz began his career as a student assistant at the University of Connecticut in 1977 where he was a football captain and an academic all-Yankee Conference linebacker.

He continued his career at Worcester Academy, the University of Pittsburgh and Iowa (1981-89). In 1990 he was named head coach of the Maine Bears. He was named Iowa’s 25th head coach in 1998.

His 2002 team was the most decorated in Iowa history, leading to Ferentz being named the AP and Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Coach of the Year in college football. His home games have sold out for the last five years (36 of 37 games) with an average attendance of 70,585 fans.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stephen Neal Rules

From Jon Wertheim's Sports Illustrated article "Rattling the Cage", March 24, 2009

…Lesnar-Mir could well be the most profitable fight in mixed-martial-arts history, generating more than a million pay-per-view buys. True to himself, however, Lesnar is preparing for the event at his Alexandria training gym, a converted warehouse with no official name, much less a sign out front. The interior is occupied mostly by free weights, treadmills and a wrestling room. Sparring partners drive back and forth from Fargo, about 90 miles away, and the Twin Cities, about 110 miles distant. When the weather is bad, which is often, Lesnar provides them accommodations near the home he shares with his wife, Rena.

UFC image-making types have gently floated the idea that Lesnar relocate to somewhere a bit more accessible, but in this, as in his fights, the 6' 3", 265-pound Lesnar can't be pushed around. "Up here people let you lead your life," he says. "Even if you're the Britney Spears of Alexandria, it means you might have to sign one autograph on your way to go ice fishing."

Lesnar grew up two hours away in Webster, S.D., on a struggling family dairy farm. He was put to work early; he proudly notes that by age five he'd suffered two hernias lifting bales of hay. With his spiky blond hair and penchant for mischief, he reminded some people of Bart Simpson, but with a more active pituitary gland: When he graduated from high school in 1996 he could deadlift 600 pounds. That's a lot of hay.

Blessed with an alloy of strength, quickness and agility, Lesnar wrestled at Minnesota and won the 2000 NCAA heavyweight title in his senior year. (As a junior he lost in the final to Stephen Neal, now a New England Patriots lineman.) He was on only a partial scholarship, though, and he says that by the time he left, he owed $40,000 in student loans -- no small sum for the son of farmers living under constant threat of foreclosure. When World Wrestling Entertainment offered him a six-figure guarantee in a multiyear promotional contract, the decision was no decision at all. "I didn't have this in my pocket," he says, opening an empty hand. "I got into the business for business reasons. Make your money and get out."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hartline impressive at NFL Combine, OSU Pro Day

From Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, "Ten Things I Think I Think," March 16, 2009:

I think, after the Ohio State Pro Day Friday, I've got one name for you to remember for the end of round two or the guts of round three: Brian Hartline. Receiver. Played in the shadow of Ted Ginn Jr., then Brian Robiskie, in Columbus. Caught just 21 balls last fall while Ohio State struggled adjusting to Terrelle Pryor running the offense.

Hartline had a great combine, can play the slot and outside, and impressed with his hands and route-running on Friday; his 4.50 40- time is OK, but not special. (Teammate Robiskie ran a 4.47.) Two months ago, Hartline was a fifth-round pick. Now he just might go in the top 64.

NC Sports clients Washington, Hartline #1 in three events at NFL combine

March 15, 2009

*Here's great evidence for Ohio State to use to silence people who claim its football players don't have the speed and athleticism of SEC programs:

*Former OSU players Brian Hartline and Donald Washington won 43 percent (3 out of 7) of the events at the recent NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Hartline had the best 60-yard shuttle (10.92) of ANY athlete at the combine, while Washington recorded the best vertical jump (45 inches) and broad jump (11-3) of all combine participants.

*Hartline/Washington, part 2: Who's among those smiling the widest since Hartline and Washington put up their combine performances?

It's Junkyard favorite Neil Cornrich - head of NC Sports in Beachwood and the agent for both Hartline and Washington.

Few NFL prospects have seen their draft stock rise quicker than Hartline and Washington have over the past few weeks.

And that leaves Cornrich poised to maintain his tradition of having OSU clients rise in the NFL Draft during the final weeks leading to it.

In 2006 former Buckeyes defensive back and Cornrich client Donte Whitner went No. 8 overall to Buffalo - after most suggested he'd be a mid-Round One pick, at best.

In 2007, onetime OSU receiver and Cornrich client Ted Ginn Jr. went No. 9 overall to Miami - after some experts predicted he'd go late in Round One.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vrabel one of top ten free agent signings of all time

From Russell S. Baxter and David Rose's ESPN column

March 11, 2009

Below are 10 greatest players to hit the open market since 1993, the first year of free agency in its current form:

8. Mike Vrabel, linebacker
Signed with Patriots in 2001 (now with Chiefs)

Who knew that a relatively obscure signing would turn into one of the most important players for the team of this decade? Thanks to the Steelers' surplus of outside linebackers, Vrabel became a free agent after the 2000 season. He signed a three-year, $5.29 million contract with the Patriots.

In eight seasons with the team, Vrabel collected 48 sacks, including 12½ sacks during the 2007 season. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl that season. Also in New England (including during the playoffs), Vrabel caught 10 passes, with all 10 going for touchdowns. He had touchdown receptions in Super Bowl XXXVIII versus the Panthers and Super Bowl XXXIX versus the Eagles. Vrabel will take his act to Kansas City because he was traded with QB Matt Cassel to the Chiefs on Feb. 28.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Ted Ginn Jr. "only going to get better and better"

By Harvey Fialkov

March 4, 2009

Former Dolphins WR Nat Moore believes receiving corps is just fine

Caught up with former Dolphins receiver Nat Moore and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino at first Fins Cup Pro-Am charity golf tournament at the PGA on Monday and asked them if the Dolphins needed a prime-time receiver?

Moore is a fan of Ted Ginn Jr. and believes he's only going to get better and better. Here's Moore unfiltered with Marino's two cents thrown in at the end.

Moore on Ginn – "He's not a polished receiver yet but he scares defenses when he's on the field you have to account for him regardless. That allows all the younger guys to have an opportunity so I'm not big on going out finding these free-agent receivers because once you get him you have to feature him, otherwise you have an unhappy camper. That means the other guys might not be in the game plan. …

"I like what we got. We were 1-15 and we were 11-5 with the talent that we had every week what did we see? Progression. They got better and there were no petty jealousies, guys were just lining up playng for each other and if you go back and look at the '72-73 team that’s what they were all about. It didn’t matter who got the glory. You got Merc, Kiick, Csonk. Most people forget Larry Csonka when he first came over without a great offensive line he was broken up every week. It's all about that offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage and if you notice that’s what Bill, Jeff Ireand and Tony are focusing on offensive and defensive lines. Then you start to focus on guys that could make plays for you.

I’m not big on spending money on a marquee receiver. No.

Ginn? I think Ginn is an unpolished receiver only going to get better. What do you think the percentage of balls he came down with it? If the guys not dropping the ball and is learning to run routes where he's getting open with the opportunities he’s getting why replace him?

When you talk about stretching the field in today’s game, it’s very difficult because the pass rushers are speedsters so the ball has to come out real quick. You don’t see many quarterbacks taking 7-step drops and throwing it 65 yards anymore. Everything’s 3-step, 5-step and the ball’s gone. I don’t care who it is, five steps the ball’s gone. One thing I can guarantee when you go back and look at the film when Ted Ginn is on the field the safety in the middle is deeper. When Ted Ginn isn’t on the field he doesn’t have to play as deep. What he does is help create space for all those people working inside, the tight ends, the backs etc… When I look at Ted Ginn, who just finished his second year, if you remember one of the things that Cam [Cameron] said when he drafted him is he was going to be a return specialist and that he was a two-year project, well he just completed his second year, what did we see? Is he ahead of schedule? One thing about football is we want instant gratification and success. It doesn’t happen that way. Very few receivers tear up the league right away.

For as talented as we were with Dan Marino, we had the Marx Brothers, two very talented receivers, but we also had Jimmy Cefalo, Joe Rose, a conglomerate of receivers where you know what if you want to take those guys away fine, we’ll beat you inside. It’s all about chemistry. Look at the Cowboys, what did they win? They got marquee receivers all over the place. Look at Cincinnati, they got marquee receivers all over the place. If you don’t have chemistry you don’t win. It’s not about you getting open, it’s whatever the defense dictates, how you get somebody open in the system. … What we saw last year was a group of receivers who worked well together. When you have a marquee receiver that the whole game plan depends on gets hurt, now what do you do?

Dan Marino has a slightly different perspective.

“Any quarterback wants a big-time player at the wide receiver position and I was blessed for many years with the Dolphins. I got to say that having Chad Pennington kind of fall into their laps right there before the season was such a positive thing. He did a terrific job and they’re just going to continue to get better,’’ Marino said.

Marino said that he trusts in Bill Parcells and isn’t concerned that the Dolphins haven’t broken the bank for a prime-time free agent receiver or any other position.

“Coach Parcells knows what he’s doing. If he had to go out and get a big-time free agent that’s a lot of notoriety he would’ve done that. I’m sure he’s getting the guys he wants to get. You see the progress they made last year. You got to believe in what they believe in. You see the results. I’m sure that will continue.’’

What do you think? Agree with Moore? Or do you want Boldin...Chad Johnson...etc..

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Ohio State teammates call Washington the best overall athlete on the team

Washington called it

February 25, 2009

From Tim May's Columbus Dispatch Blog

Donald Washington’s show during the final day of the NFL Combine was stunning, at least to everyone but him. He called it.

As he stood in the entryway to Ohio State’s Younkin Success Center back on a cold January day and unceremoniously announced his decision to forgo his senior season in favor of applying for the draft, the cornerback said he knew he was taking a big leap. But he said the cloud of doubt would disappear once he got the chance to show scouts what he was all about as an athlete.

Talk about a clear-blue sky today, his 45-inch vertical leap was astounding on Tuesday, by far the best of all 300 or so players who took part in the combine in Indianapolis. And his standing broad jump of 11 feet, 3 inches was equally impressive — anything over 10-6 is considered extraordinary.

For a defensive back especially, such numbers scream “Look at me.” That’s because their world is full of sudden starts, stops, change of direction and unanticipated leaps.

What’s too bad is these numbers from Washington might not have been such a surprise had he not gone on double-secret probation from the OSU football team last spring. There was talk that he was going to try to compete with the OSU track and field team, and that the running long jump was one event he had in mind. He had been a standout in track and field in high school at Franklin Central just outside Indianapolis. And when his OSU football teammates were asked who the best overall athlete on the team was, his named always came up first.

Now the secret is out. He will zoom up the draft charts because NFL defensive coaches love explosion.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mike Vrabel one of Top 25 Free Agent Signings of All Time

Mike Vrabel, 2001 | Patriots, LB

He flirted with the idea of retirement at the end of his four years in Pittsburgh, but signed instead with the New England Patriots in 2001. Vrabel is a perfect fit in Bill Belichick's system, registering 604 tackles, 48 sacks and 10 touchdown catches in his first 8 years with the franchise. The versatile four-year defensive captain earned both Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods in 2007 to go along with his three Super Bowl rings.

Cole gets $6 million guaranteed

March 1, 2009

By Pete Dougherty

Colin Cole's trip into free agency turned out to be quite lucrative for the former Packers backup defensive lineman.

A source with knowledge of Cole's new contract with the Seattle Seahawks said the deal was worth $21.5 million over five years, including $6 million guaranteed.

The Packers had tried to sign Cole before the start of free agency, but talks with Cole's agent, Neil Cornrich of NC Sports, didn't advance far enough to get a deal done. When Cole hit the free-agent market, Cole proved right in rejecting the Packers' offer.

Mel Kiper: OSU's Washington expected to go in top of draft

With the combine behind us, here's the latest intelligence on the biggest names

By Mel Kiper Jr.

February 26, 2009

One major college under-the-radar prospect is Ohio State's Donald Washington. He's what scouts look for both physically and athletically, plus he played at a first-round level during several games in college. I can't believe a player with Washington's potential would be picked later than the second round, and don't be shocked if some team pulls the trigger during the latter stages of Round 1.

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