Spring Roundup: UNLV Football

There is a possibility that this is Mike Sanford’s last go around unless he can get something done this spring. Sanford has only 6 wins in his 3 seasons as the Rebels head coach. This spring the Quarterback position needs to be finalized because last year the two players were splitting time Travis Dixon who started at the beginning of the season and then there is Omar Clayton and these two seem to be the front runners. Also in the mix for the Rebels are Dack Ishii who appeared in 2 games late in the year, and then also Redshirt Freshman Mike Clausen. Also the defense will need some more help with Beau Bell leaving early for the NFL Draft, even outside of Bell the defense gave up way too many points and the team needs to establish some depth to be able to stay more competitive in conference play for 2008. If the Rebels can settle on a QB who can limit turnovers and be decent this team could easily double their wins to 4, because the Rebels have good receivers in Casey Flair and Ryan Wolfe who are very good. Also toss in tail back Frank Summers who is a solid back, so the main focus needs to find a QB that can run the offense.

2008 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

DATE OPPONENT
8-30-08 UTAH STATE
9-6-08 at Utah
9-13-08 at Arizona State
9-20-08 IOWA STATE
9-27-08 NEVADA
10-4-08 at Colorado State
10-18-08 AIR FORCE
10-25-08 at Brigham Young
11-1-08 TCU
11-8-08 NEW MEXICO
11-15-08 WYOMING
11-22-08 at San Diego State


MWC 2008 NFL Draft Prospects

Today is the day for the NFL Draft and today I will take a look at where and who might be drafted today or tomorrow. The lists below are all the players who are eligible to be drafted, I am assuming 10 players might be drafted this weekend with many more getting signed after the draft, and try outs during teams rookie camps.g

Players that should be drafted and where will be listed ahead of all of the prospects, and the picks are from Sporting News.

OLB/ILB Beau Bell (UNLV) Projected to Atlanta 37th Pick
Bell is a tackling machine, always looking to punish ballcarriers. He shows an internal rage that is infectious. He is an ideal NFL middle linebacker. Bell is not a perfect prospect, but his size, strength, speed, toughness and competitiveness could make him a first-round pick.

OLB/ILB Ezra Butler (UNLV) Projected to Indianapolis 59th Pick
The Colts need depth at defensive end. Geathers is a natural pass rusher and great competitor who can contribute right away.

QB Kevin O’Connell (San Diego State) Projected to New York Jets 102nd Pick

O’Connell looks the part of a good starting NFL quarterback with his frame, arm, athleticism and smarts, but to get there he needs to put in much work on fundamentals. He would benefit greatly from a team with a coach patient enough to work on his footwork, stride and follow-through. The good thing is that he has the mental side of the game down, so with some development of his physical skills, he is a worthy Day 2 project who has a chance to start down the line.

DE Tommy Blake (TCU) Projected to Denver 148th Pick

Blake was an elite end for TCU in ’06 and showed the athleticism to possibly play linebacker in a 3-4. He was a surefire top-five overall pick before this season, but his struggles on and off the field in ’07 will keep him from being selected anywhere near that high. If he straightens himself out, Blake has Dwight Freeney-like potential. However, there are red flags — a la Dimitrius Underwood — that he likely will slip into the fifth round.

OG Devin Clark (New Mexico) Project to Miami 204th Pick

Clark must move to guard and improve significantly as a run blocker to make an NFL roster, in addition to getting bigger and stronger. Clark might need a few years but should eventually become a quality backup with the potential to turn into a starter.

S David Roach (TCU) Projected to Chicago 222nd PIck

Roach is a talented enough athlete to make it in the NFL, but if he does not improve his fundamentals and consistency, he will not last long enough to take advantage of his physical tools. He probably will be drafted higher than his rating because of his combination of size and workout speed, but his inconsistent tackling and lacking explosive closing burst are big concern. He would be best suited to go to a team with veteran safeties so he can develop his game, but Roach’s upside still might be limited to a backup.

OLB Bryan Kehl Projected to Cincinnati 244th Pick

Kehl is not a flashy linebacker who grabs attention with speed and explosiveness, but he is strong and shows plenty of heart, hustle and smarts. Kehl could go undrafted, but he should make an NFL team as a hardworking backup. Continue reading

Lee Cummard Declares for Draft

Lee Cummard is the second player from BYU has declared for the NBA Draft, by following the decision Trent Plaiasted made last month. Cummard was the Co-Mountain West Player of the year and was honorable mention All-American. Cummard did not sign an agent so he still has the option to return for his Senior season. This scenario seems like Cummard is just testing the waters to see how he goes and unless he is a first round pick, something I doubt, he will be back with Plaisted for his senior year. Cummard would be better suited to come out next year because next years NBA Draft class does not look as strong as this years, plus BYU should be the team to beat again and a run in the NCAA tournament, another player of the year award, and being named to the All American team again could propel Cummard into a higher category and a better draft pick.

Spring Roundup: Utah Football

The Utes first priority is getting injured players healthy who sat out last year or missed time. QB Brian Johnson’s shoulder still is not 100% but he is still participating, as well as RB Matt Asiata, and WR Brent Casteel come back after early season injuries. Asiata and Casteel have done well in full contact drills and scrimmages so far. These two players are going to be huge for Utah’s success, because with suspensions from WR Marquis Wilson and graduation to WR Brian Hernandez Casteel needs to step up. Plus, with running back the emergence of Darrell Mack adding in Asiata who looked pretty good in his few carries before his season ending injury against Oregon State. QB Corbin Loukes has looked spectacular as well by guiding the first and second teams in scrimmages, Loukes has shown great rushing ability, which is a key for the Ute QB and he has shown the ability to put the ball in the air as well. Louks needs to be prepared to step in for Brian Johnson if we ever goes down, but will spell Johnson time to time like this year for a change of pace.

2008 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
DATE OPPONENT
8-30-08 at Michigan
9-6-08 UNLV
9-13-08 at Utah State
9-20-08 at Air Force
9-27-08 WEBER STATE
10-2-08 OREGON STATE (Thur.)
10-11-08 at Wyoming
10-18-08 COLORADO STATE
11-1-08 at New Mexico
11-6-08 TCU (Thur.)
11-15-08 at San Diego State
11-22-08 BRIGHAM YOUNG

The defense was young last year and come on strong but the key seniors on the team Malakai Mokofisi and Joe Jinnoni are gone at the linebacker position and will be missed, but Junior Sylvester Stevenson should step in right away to a starting job. Sylvester has had significant playing time since a freshman and will fit in right away and contribute. The Utes doe return multiple starters with 8 on offense and 6 on defense, plus All American K/P Louis Sakoda

Offense 8
LG Caleb Schlauderaff (6-5, 300, So.)
LT Zane Beadles (6-4, 312, Jr.)
RG Robert Conley (6-1, 316, Sr.)
RT Dustin Hensel (6-7, 320, Sr.)
QB Brian Johnson (6-1, 205, Sr.)
RB Darrell Mack (6-0, 219, Sr.)
WR Brent Casteel (5-10, 193, Sr.)
WR Bradon Godfrey (6-3, 197, Sr.)

Defense (6)
LE Koa Misi* (6-3, 263, Jr.)
RE Paul Kruger (6-5, 255, So.)
RLB Stevenson Sylvester (6-2, 220, Jr.)
CB Brice McCain (5-9, 189, Sr.)
CB R.J. Stanford (5-11, 180, Jr.)
FS Robert Johnson (6-3, 190, Jr.)

Here is the list of the JUCO’s that are in spring camp for Utah

Lamar Chapman DB 5-8 160 Jr. JC Compton, Calif./El Camino JC

Aiona Key WR 6-4 209 Jr. JC Citrus Heights, Calif./Mt. SAC

Dudley LaPorte TE 6-3 250 Jr. JC Stratford, Conn./Santa Barbara CC

David Reed WR 6-0 184 Jr. JC New Britain, Conn./Pasadena City College

All players should be an immediate impact to help the time, but the stud of the group is WR Aiona Key who has the chance to start or at least get significant playing time at WR and be a force in the league.

The Utes spring game is this Saturday at Rice-Eccles at 1PM and is free to the public.

Also Utah has one of the most in-depth Spring media guide with tons of info on the team.

Where’s the coverage?

Here we go again, me complaining about the TV coverage the conference gets. First of all everyone knows football and basketball lead the pack in revenue and coverage. My main query is the coverage of spring football, now before I get into that I was going to slam the channel for not having coverage of Spring Football. Well, I was half right checking out the website the Mtn. does have a few episodes dedicated to each team for spring football which is great.

My main objection is how come the spring games …err glorified scrimmages not broadcast on The Mtn. Not sure if cost is an issue to send a crew, camera man, producers, techs, and so on. This would make sense and would be another live event that the channel could show, and we all know this time of year live events are hard to come by. Plus the league could have these events replayed just as they do for other events. ESPN’s Game Day was at University of Florida for their spring game and ESPN broadcast the game as well. Also, other games were shown on ESPNU as well as Comcast Regional Sports broadcast spring games. The Big 10 Network did show the games streaming online, but again they were at least shown.

This not like the games should be on Versus or CBS College Sports, but the channel needs original programming and programming that will be popular in replays. The league and/or channel dropped the ball on this one. People watch the NFL combine on the NFL network and ESPNU shows spring practices as well as some games. The point is that football is very popular, and showing spring games would give the league a chance to get fans excited about their teams, promote the upcoming league schedule, and the big one to let viewers know that the channel is now available on DirecTv.

Some day the league might get this TV thing to the level where it needs to be.

One of four charges dismissed for New Mexico

The NCAA has dismissed one of the four charges facing New Mexico’s football program in an academic fraud investigation, the assistant who was part of the charges is no longer with the school and took the same position at UTEP. The other 3 charges are being reviewed this Friday at the NCAA head office Indianapolis which is against two other former assistants. The coaches names have not been released, but the situation is where coaches helped four recruits and one current Lobo player improperly obtain credits through correspondence courses at Fresno Pacific University.

This happened during the 2004-2005 and no current players or coaches are involved in this case. New Mexico took their on actions by reducing the number of scholarships by 2 for the next two seasons and reduce the number of coaches who can make off campus visits for the next 2 years.

The NCAA will decide in the next 6-8 weeks to see if these self imposed sanctions are enough.