San Diego State head coach Rocky Long told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he’s considering not punting or kicking on fourth downs in 2012. Instead, Long is considering going for it on fourth downs inside an opponent’s 50-yard line in order to try and pick up a new set of downs every time.
Kevin Kelley, the head coach of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas has developed the strategy over the years. He claims punting is an offensive failure, and is essentially a voluntary turnover.
Long summed it up this way:
“It makes sense. Additional plays would allow you to score a lot more points. It also puts a whole lot of pressure on the defense.”
“It’s a day-to-day theory. I haven’t decided because we’re getting a feel for it out here. I just read about this guy, and I don’t know if I can do that because everybody in the world is going to say this is not Football 101, right?”
On Saturday night during a scrimmage, the Aztecs converted just one of five attempts on fourth down. But the strategy has worked for Kelley and Pulaski Academy. He has posted a 104-19 record and won three state titles over the past nine years.
With an inflatable batting cage installed on its deck, the USS Yorktown will host the opening round of the Class A South Atlantic League home run derby on June 18, as part of the league’s All-Star Game festivities, the league announced.
The 10 participants, five from each division, will get 10 swings each. The Yorktown is stationed in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina, only a few miles from where the Charleston RiverDogs play; the championship round of the derby will be at Riley Park a day later.
Last fall, the college hoops season kicked off with North Carolina and Michigan State playing a regular-season game aboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. This November, Syracuse and San Diego State will play on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, and the Yorktown will host the Carrier Classic, with Connecticut and an as-of-yet-undetermined opponent.
Attendance for the Yorktown portion of the home run derby is free, as long as fans remember to mention the All-Star Game at the gate. The RiverDogs have hired folks to use kayaks and jet skis to retrieve baseballs that splash down in the harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard will be on hand to make sure no sea life is disturbed.
It appears winners of the Miss Missouri title have a gift for getting to the wedding altar with well-known pro athletes. Candice Crawford, the 2008 Miss Missouri made that trip with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earlier this year.
Now Amber Marie Seyer, the 2007 winner, is headed in the same direction this weekend San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito.
It’s a nice ending to the year for the 2002 Cy Young winner, who had a rough season for San Francisco while being reminded often he hasn’t delivered on his $126 million contract.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports another Giant also will get wed this weekend, when outfielder Nate Schierholtz marries Kate Eveland, a former guard for San Diego State’s basketball team.
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that officials from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference were briefed about a possible football-only merger that might help the new league become part of the Bowl Championship Series.
Under the proposed merger, the leagues would play separate schedules and at the end of the season the two champions would meet in a title game with the hope that the winner would receive a BCS bid.
The report says talks will continue Tuesday and Wednesday during the annual meetings of Division I athletic directors in Dallas. The report says a football-only federation which would include 22 to 24 schools would offer the new league a “strength in numbers” response to recent conference realignment.
“It’s an intriguing concept,” Rice athletic director Rick Greenspan told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s one that is probably a bit unique in college athletics.”
C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said in a statement that the two leagues were discussing a merger and “working to create consolation strategies that have the potential for positioning our members well into the future.”
Conference USA currently has 12 schools that play football: East Carolina, Marshall, Central Florida, Southern Miss, Memphis, Alabama-Birmingham, Southern Methodist, Tulsa, Tulane, Houston, Rice and Texas-El Paso. East Carolina applied for Big East membership last week and Central Florida has expressed interest in leaving for the Big East.
The Mountain West schools include Texas Christian. Colorado State, Boise State, Wyoming, San Diego State, UNLV, Air Force and New Mexico. Texas Christian will head to the Big East on July 1, 2012. Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii (football only) will join the league in 2012.
San Diego State University Aztecs head football coach Rocky Long hasn’t been on the job very long but one of his first things he’s done is address Boise State run as a small school with huge football success. Long believes though the Broncos have an unfair competitive advantage because the blue turf they play on.
“I think they ought to get rid of that blue turf. I think it’s unfair,” said Long. “It takes the visiting team a quarter or two to get used to that different field.”
San Diego State will actually host the Broncos on November 19 and won’t have to travel to Boise State until 2012.
Washington Nationals phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg is taking on the difficult task of trying to comeback from Tommy John surgery and now quitting smokeless tobacco. The decision to try and quit putting a wad of tobacco under his lip came about when his former San Diego State University baseball head coach and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn recieved the news of his cancer diagnosis.
“I’m still in the process of quitting,” Strasburg said. “I’ve made a lot of strides, stopped being so compulsive with it. I’m hoping I’m going to be clean for spring training. It’s going to be hard, because it’s something that’s embedded in the game.”
Just as peanuts and cracker jacks are a staple of baseball so is smokeless tobacco and it won’t be an easy task ahead of Strasburgh as the Washington Post reports that 33 percent of players use. The percentage of user with the dangers associated with the use of smokeless tobacco and the impact it has on the little Tommy’s of the world have many trying to persuade baseball to ban the products from the game.
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the Navy Midshipmen taking on San Diego State University Aztecs in the in the 6th annual Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.
Navy, 9-3, 4-2 Independent, is on a current four game winning streak and is making its school-record eighth consecutive bowl appearance. A remarkable run when considering the Midshipmen only had played in back-to-back bowl games once in school history and that was in 1980-1981.
The Navy offense revolves around an option attack that has the team ranked fifth in the nation in rushing with an average of 288.9 ypg. The Midshipmen have scored 36 touchdowns via the run compared to just 12 through the air. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs is the driving force for the Navy offense who tops the roster with 860 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He has passed for 1,380 yards and another 12 touchdowns. When Dobbs does go to the air he often is looking for Greg Jones, who has 577 yards and 4 touchdowns. Dobbs is not the only option with the ball as Alexander Teich is second on the team in rushing and has 825 yards and 5 touchdowns on the season.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has a defense that at times has lacked some real consistency but has still pulled together to limit teams to just an average of 22 ppg. Creating turnovers has been an area of strength for this defense, which has recorded 23 takeaways, including 16 fumble recoveries and has 18 sacks to its total.
As for the Aztecs, 8-4, 5-3 MWC, they are one of the most improved teams in the nation and they were rewarded with their first bowl invite since 1998 and it will be in front of it’s student body and community, which could go miles in recruiting the Southern California market. Head Coach Brady Hoke possess a high-powered offensive attack that is producing 35 ppg and 448.8 total ypg. The strength of the unit comes from the passing game handled by quarterback Ryan Lindley, who has thrown for 3,554 yards and 26 touchdowns but has 14 interceptions and only completes 56.5 percent of his throws.
Lindley has two outstanding receivers at his disposal in Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson. Brown leads the team with 1,187 yards and 9 touchdowns with Sampson close at 1,175 yards and 8 touchdowns.
The Aztecs also have a serious threat in the backfield, as Ronnie Hillman is the Mountain West Conference’s Freshman of the Year. Hillman, who had five games of 150 yards or more, set a league record with 1,304 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns.
On defense, San Diego State have created 28 sacks on the season and ranks 5th in the nation in tackles for loss with 7.5 pg.has helped offset the mere 15 turnovers forced by the defense.
Linebacker Miles Burris has been a real stud on the defense and a force to reckon with as he has 74 tackles, 19 of them for losses and 9.5 sacks on the year.
This is Navy’s 17th bowl appearance and it owns a 7-8-1 record where as San Diego State is 4-4 all-time and looking for their first bowl victory since 1969. Navy and San Diego State have met twice before on the field with the Aztecs getting both victories.
PICK: San Diego State University Aztecs
This game goes down on the CBS Sports network and it features the Air Force Falcons taking on San Diego State University Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium.
Head coach Troy Calhoun has his Falcons at 5-1 overall and already 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference. The Falcons last weekend beat up on Colorado State 49-27 but 27 points is the most the team has given up all season and that includes there loss in Norman to the Sooners. Air Force is off to its best start since 2003 and is trying for its best start in conference in 13 years when it started 4-0 as a WAC member in 1997.
The Falcons is the nations number one ranked rushing team as they run a triple option style offense to overcome the fact they don’t get the top recruits. They are lead by junior quarterback Tim Jefferson, 663 yards 5 touchdowns 3 INTs, who has rushed for 376 yards and 7 touchdowns on the season at an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Air Force being a rushing team averages 352.7 yards per game and there more than one guy than can and is expected to run the ball beside Jefferson.
Junior running back Asher Clark, 548 yards 2 touchdowns, is one of those guys and picks up 6.4 ypc, while senior running mate Jared Tew, 524 yards 3 touchdowns, is gaining 5 ypc.
Defensively Air Force is 7th in nation in pass defense allowing only 149.3 ypg and the star on that unit is senior defensive back Reggie Rembert.
Head coach Brady Hoke has his Aztecs at 3-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play after coming off a controversial 24-21 loss to BYU. San Diego State is managed by junior quarterback Ryan Lindley, 1394 yards 9 touchdowns 3 INTs, is someone who can do some damage even though he has only completed 55.3 percent of his throws.
The Aztecs have shown they can pass the ball and run it and for that they rely on freshman running back Ronnie Hillman, 594 yards 8 touchdowns, and his 6.3 ypc. The offensive line that has created big enough holes for Hillman also does an outstanding job keeping Lindley from getting touched as they rank 5th in the nation with just 0.40 sacks allowed per outing.
Air Force leads the all-time series 19-9 and won last years meeting between the two schools 26-14. Last year the Falcons picked up the victory but did not score a single offensive touchdown.
PICK: Air Force Falcons
The play that got the three replay officials, one of which works for the Brigham Young athletic department, suspended by the Mountain West Conference comes at the 1:46 mark. The fumble happened as Cougars J.J. Di Luigi lost the ball before his knee hit the ground but the line judge ruled that Di Luigi was down before fumbling. San Diego coach Brady Hoke challenged the call, but the officials in the booth failed to overturn the line judge’s ruling.
San Diego State eventually lost 24-21.
Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn announced yesterday that he has parotid cancer that was discovered last month and is about to start radiation and chemo for it. Doctors told him that they caught the cancer early and the amount is minimal. The former San Diego Padre and current San Diego State’s baseball coach says he believes his years of using chewing tobacco lead to the cancer.
“I haven’t discussed that with the doctors yet, but I’m thinking it’s related to dipping,” said Gwynn.
No matter how it came about here at the Sports Grind family would like to extend our wishes to Mr. Gwynn and his family, hoping they stay strong as they are in our hearts and minds.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the Aztecs have been paid $5.3 million to play 22 games over the past year against top-tier programs but have gone 0-22 in those games with an average losing score of 31-12.
Former San Diego State coach Tom Craft once complained the practice “hasn’t been fair,” but AD Jim Sterk said that “It really helps the bottom line as we have the challenge of the cost of scholarships going up and the cost of education going up significantly in the state.”
In college sports the bottom line seems to be how much revenue the teams can make. The Aztecs will pick up an $800,000 check for playing at Missouri.
Tick, tick, tick on Monday’s midnight deadline to sign picks from June’s draft is quickly approaching and Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten said he has
if top pick Stephen Strasburg from San Diego State University will sign with the team. It could just be another instance of super agent Scott Boras wanting to wait until the last minute in hopes of forcing his opponent to crack, or Strasburg may just be dead set on not wanting to pitch for the Nationals. As was the case of last years number nine pick Aaron Crow from the University of Missouri, who ironically has yet to sign with the Kansas City Royals who drafted him number twelve in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.
Strasburg can play somewhere next year like an independent league or even Japan then reenter the 2010 draft. Maybe his hometown Padres would get him. Maybe a better economy or a different owner would bring a better deal. The real holdup concerning Boras in this negotiations might actually be the years his client would be tied to rather than the total amount of the deal.
Even starting third baseman Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals recently added his two cents on the Strasburg negotiations, saying
“When it comes down to it, Strasburg has to think about, ‘Can I go to bed if I turn down $15, 16 million dollars — whatever it is — to pass up the opportunity to play for these guys?’ That’s a lot of money. I don’t understand what he thinks will be better next year. If we don’t take him, who’s gonna take him next year? Pittsburgh? San Diego? San Diego is not gonna pay him more. Absolutely his leverage will never be higher. Everybody wants to play where they want to play; everybody wants the ideal situation, but that’s not the point of the draft. You can’t tell people where you want to play. At some point, do it like everybody else has already done it. I agree, he’s one of the better college pitchers ever to pitch, but he hasn’t proven anything yet.”
The Nationals have to be cautious as since 1965, when the draft began, only one pitcher taken in the top 18 spots in the first round has ever won 200 or more games (Kevin Brown). Based on the history of high picks, Strasburg should be viewed as having a good chance to become a very good pitcher. But not more. No pitcher taken in the first four overall picks has ever won a Cy Young Award or made more than two all-star teams. Worst of all, major health concerns, such as the elbow surgery the Nationals are currently experiencing with top prospect Jordan Zimmermann, it demonstrates the fragility of pitchers. Bid high. But beware. The No. 2 overall pick next year as compensation may be almost as good.