Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ferentz Honored By Neag School Of Education

Ferentz Named Distinguised Alumnus At UConn

May 20, 2009

STORRS, Conn. - Former University of Connecticut football student-athlete Kirk Ferentz, who now serves as the head football coach at the University of Iowa, was honored by UConn's Neag School of Education as its Distinguished Alumnus on Saturday night.

A native of Royal Oak, Mich., Ferentz attended Upper St. Clair High School in Pittsburgh. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in English education. He was a team captain and an Academic All-Yankee Conference linebacker at UConn.

Ferentz will be entering his 11th year at Iowa in 2009 and he also served as the head coach at Maine from 1990-92. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at UConn in 1977 and was an assistant coach at Worcester (Mass.) Academy from 1978-79. A graduate assistant at Pittsburgh in 1990, Ferentz first came to Iowa as an assistant coach from 1981-89 before taking the Maine job. He was also an assistant coach in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens from 1993-98 before taking the Iowa job.

He was the 2002 Associated Press and Walter Camp Football Foundation National Coach of the Year. He has led Iowa to a pair of Big Ten championships and seven bowl games during his tenure.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Patriots’ Porter wrestles with an all new field

Former Kent State wrestler looks to make transition to NFL
By Glen Farley

May 1, 2009

Jermail Porter is well aware that the New England Patriots have gone to the mat for his type before.

“I watched a lot of wrestling film on Stephen Neal, first and foremost, because he was probably the greatest college heavyweight of all time, even internationally,”Porter said between Friday’s double session on the opening day of the team’s rookie minicamp on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.

“So I watched a lot of film on him and this is the avenue he took. It seemed like this could be a possible transition for me as well.”

Like Neal eight years before him, Porter is attempting to make the transition from collegiate wrestler to professional football player.

“I’m learning,” said Porter, who has gone from All-America heavyweight wrestler at Kent State to a rookie free-agent offensive lineman in the Patriots’ rookie minicamp. “It’s a different world for me.”

It truly is an all-new world to the native of Akron, Ohio.

“Very new,” he said. “I didn’t play high school or college, obviously. I didn’t even play peewee because I was always overweight for the weight limit. And I end up wrestling. Go figure. I have no experience. This is all new to me. It’s a whole new world.”

A whole new world Porter was anxious to explore.

“This is something I wanted,” said Porter. “I’ve been thinking about this since my junior season of college. I wanted to pursue this after college. I just wasn’t sure where to start.

“Fortunately, some people pointed me in the right direction so here I am.”

The right direction ultimately being Foxboro, where Neal, who, like Porter, employs Neil Cornrich as his agent, has found a football home.

It was 2001 when Patriots head coach Bill Belichick brought Neal in from Cal State-Bakersfield where he’d won two NCAA Div. 1 wrestling titles. Three years later, after a couple of lengthy stints on injured reserve, Belichick had himself a starting right guard.

“With Stephen, we started him on the defensive side of the ball and eventually moved him back to the offensive side of the ball,” Belichick reflected on Friday. “We just have to see how it goes (with Porter). Right now, he’s working on offense. We might flip him over. We’ll see how it goes.

“We’re just kind of taking it day by day and see how he does in different drills, different situations and just take it one step at a time. (We) really haven’t any expectations other than as long as he’s improving, we’ll keep working with him and see where the best fit might be.”

In the coach’s opinion, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Porter may fit in New England.

“He’s certainly a good-looking kid,” said Belichick. “(He’s) got a good frame, got good balance. We know that from wrestling.”

Porter, who compiled a 119-43 career record at Kent State and placed sixth at this year’s NCAA Championships, believes lessons learned on the wrestling mat can translate to the football field.

“Leverage, balance, footwork — all that kind of stuff so far, as far as I’m learning, all transferred over,” said Porter. “It’s very much a part of football as it is in wrestling.”

That aside, Porter realizes he will have to make major strides in order to pin down a job in pro football.

“Coach ‘Scar’ (offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia) and all those guys are very patient with me,” said Porter. “I’m learning. I’m the most inexperienced guy out here so I’m learning every second.

“I’m maybe like five percent in there. My body’s there, but I’m catching on. I feel more informed. I know more now through this first practice than I did before I came in here. (I’m) trying to work hard and learn more.”

Hartline looks good at Dolphins' rookie camp

Dolphins rookie camp wrap - Day 2

From Omar Kelly's SunSentinel Blog on May 2, 2009

Every rookie camp the Miami Dolphins throw as much as they possibly can at the rookies and newcomers and watch to see whose head is swimming, and which players gobble it up. Who improves throughout the weekend, and who regresses.

Coach Tony Sparano said today was about seeing who can handle how much information -- take the stuff they're taught in the classroom and apply it on the field.

"We beat them up pretty good in the meeting rooms. We gave them an awful lot," said Sparano, who admitted he's pulling for two undrafted rookies to make the team.

I've always felt the small school players have the toughest road, but the upside is promising.

While I didn't see Saturday's session because of my wife's graduation, cohort Steve Gorten (my hockey homeboy) did his best to keep The Mob from missing a beat.

Steve, who runs a nice Panthers blog I'd like you to click on just to say "THANK YOU STEVE", says....

Fourth-round draft pick Brian Hartline looked good. He caught about a 15-yard pass from Nathan Longshore and a 20-yarder over Vontae Davis on a pass from Pat White. The second one, near the sideline, was an especially nice throw and catch. Hartline also had another impressive catch against Davis.

Hartline said he finally caught up with fellow Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr. and they chatted at the Dolphins' facility on Friday. While he's trying to digest the playbook Hartline is also busy juggling school work, trying to finish up his classes at Ohio State.

On balancing classes and NFL, Hartline said: "It is a little difficult, I’d be lying if I said otherwise, just because it’s really a second priority now. School being a second priority still demands a lot. This is my most important thing right now. Finishing up classes, but also being focused on this has been a little difficult, but I’m getting through it."

The dude also apparently was licking his chops to get his Dolphins playbook:

"I enjoy that kind of stuff. Sometimes it can help separate you, so I was more eager to get it so I could get started," Hartline said. "Once I received it, I calmed down and just got into it."

Friday, May 01, 2009

Randy Shannon to Receive Prestigious Keith Tribble Trailblazer Award

By Alice Meikle

April 20, 2009

The Orange Bowl continues its community outreach effort in South Florida, as its reaches out to citizen’s young and old recognizing their contribution in education and sport. The ”OBC” especially placed their focus on youth academic and athletic programs says Lynn Washington, co-chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Orange Bowl Field of Dreams Committee.

The Orange Bowl Committee has been celebrating with America’s future leaders and the OBC’s legacy has been realized for some 75 years or more.

The Orange Bowl Committee will host its seventh annual Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Field Of Dreams Scholarship Benefit on Friday May 8 at the Broward County Convention Center, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida commencing with a reception at 7 p.m. followed by dinner and entertainment at 8 p.m.

The Orange Bowl Keith Tribble Trailblazer Award is annually presented to an innovator, pioneer and ground breaker, a person who has helped open doors, blazed trails and prepared a way for others to have better lives.

So it was only fitting when the OBC decided to select the 2009 recipient for this prestigious award, as University of Miami Head Football Coach Randy Shannon. The OBC feels that Randy Shannon has made an individual contribution, which has significantly impacted the South Florida community at large.

Shannon was named head football coach of the University of Miami on December 8, 2006. A native of Miami, Shannon, played at Norland High School before moving on to the University of Miami where he was a four-year letterman and starting outside linebacker on the 1987 National Championship team.

After graduation, he played for the Dallas Cowboys before moving into coaching at the University level, before joining the Dolphins staff. He returned to UM as defensive coordinator for six years, coaching top 10 defenses in five of those six seasons before being named the 20th head coach in school history.

Shannon, 43, played on or was a coach for three of the school’s five national championship teams. He is one of only seven African American head coaches from among the 119 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1-A).

Other recognitions include Barrington Irving, the youngest and first black person to pilot a plane around the world solo, Christopher L. Smith Florida State Senator District 29 and founder of The Chris Smith All-star Football Classic, and Clarence Anthony former Mayor of South Bay and is presently the Chief Marketing Officer and Presiding Director of the Board of Directors for Post Buckley Schuh & Jernigan, Inc.

“Everything is in place for one of the more successful, star-studded and meritorious group of honorees since the Field of Dreams began. This promises to be one of the premiere events of the season.

Now part of the Orange Bowl Committee’s 75 year legacy, our Field of Dreams offers a can’t miss night of entertainment, recognition and the generous spirit of South Florida,” comments Antonia “Toni” Williams-Gary, Co Chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Orange Bowl Field of Dreams Committee.

The Field of Dreams Scholarship Benefit is an annual Orange Bowl Committee event with a purpose of providing college scholarship funding for deserving high school seniors.

The program has awarded individual scholarships, and contributed over $300,000 for African-American scholarships to organizations such as the Tom Joyner Foundation, The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Florida Memorial University’s Athletic Scholarship Fund and the UNCF.

The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 330-member, primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent organization that supports and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. The Orange Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 5, 2010.

In 2013, the OBC will again double-host both the FedEx Orange Bowl and the BCS National Championship. Other OBC core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series.

For more information on the 2009-10 Orange Bowl Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program.

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