Quick Quacks

NEW DUCKS <p> Football recruits are signed sealed and delivered. The Ducks signed an unusually high number of junior college players this year, seven in all. The first reaction is that coming off a 5-6 season, the coaching staff hopes to facilitate an immediate improvement by signing the two-year players.

In the press conference announcing the signings, coach Mike Bellotti stated, "When you have a season that maybe you're not as pleased or happy about, I think there is more drive to go out and change that… We did a better job of targeting the specific areas this year… we were very focused." Speaking to the positions filled out of the JC ranks, he noted the "situation at linebacker, it wouldn't have mattered what our record was last year, we had immediate needs. Offensive line was much the same thing" as nearly every Duck with experience in those two areas graduated after last season.

Bellotti also noted that "we graduated two at tailback" which is the position played by the marquee player of the recruiting class, Jonathan Stewart. Addressing the subject of an incoming high profile recruit where there is an incumbent starter, running back Terrence Whitehead in this case, Bellotti said "First of all, Terrence is a 1,000-yard ground gainer and two year starter…Terrence is our feature back" but then went on to note "I think there is room for several tailbacks… in our best years we had two great tailbacks – or three at times" mentioning Ricky Whittle, Dino Philyaw, but drawing a blank on the name of the third.

That would have been Sean Burwell, coach, but I had the luxury of being able to research the media guide to aid my recollection. In the years just ahead of the Rose Bowl season of '94 all three were on the Duck roster. Burwell was a load of a back, and ranks second in both career rushing and all-purpose running yards for the Ducks.

Should Jonathon Stewart emerge as a true freshman to complement Whitehead in the backfield the immediate reference will be toward the 2000 season that saw both Onterrio Smith and Maurice Morris gaining more than a 1000 yards rushing for the Ducks. If Terrell Jackson or Chris Vincent steps forward as well, there could be a return of sorts to that trifecta of the Rich Brooks era.


Riddle me this, Batman… how is the "showboating" that is such a lightening bolt across the sports landscape – and like it's natural counterpart, loved by those on the inside (the game), but feared by those outside – any different than the guy who acts like a third-grade playground doofus anytime a sideline camera happens across their visage. Is that really… I mean… really, the impression you want to give everybody out there in television-land? Do they check with friends and family, and oh yeah … the neighbors to make sure they were seen being a doofus on TV? Act like a doofus, be treated like a doofus should be the golden rule… and when you criticize the more highly paid doofus, you're being a double-doofus, though granted you won't be penalized 15 yards. If only that third grade admonishment "your face is going to get stuck looking like that" would come true once or twice…

No doubt watching too much ESPN… is it just me or do you also wonder if the network found U2-frontman Bono's look alike sunglasses BEFORE they found the U2-frontman's acting look-a-like when casting the obscenely overly advertised poker soap "Tilt"? To the point of including "let's rock ‘n roll" in the dialogue once said sunglasses were on camera? Makes a subtle, though important, distinction in how I view the network.

The way poker is saturating the airwaves of sports TV, maybe the locked out NHL hockey players should start a version. With card games a staple in every locker room, it seems a natural extension. "Live from the Forum in Montreal – Detroit vs. Les Habs, it's Poker Night in Canada"

Bracket the players by division and you have a facsimile Stanley Cup playoff. The whole theme could work. Pull that together, you'll get the owners back to the table in a real hurry… though I wouldn't wait too long, I don't see televised poker as something we will find dominating sporting headlines nearly as often as we find it dominating the programming schedules.

Even happened to catch an MTV-style video on Fox portraying a band of four players as an urban four musketeers… electric fans blowing long hair with every pose and primp there for the camera to capture – if only Andy Warhol had spoken of one minute of fame.

Till next time…

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