Stand by for some changes

UPDATE: October 16, 2015:

We’ve started adding some new things. We’re expanding into covering conventions for gaming (video/PC/role-playing) and fan conventions. Go to the “Conventions” page and poke around.

JUNE 26, 2015

While the name of the site is going to remain the same and we will still be talking about sports, we aren’t going to limit ourselves to just sports.

We may be talking about almost anything from sports to movies to video games to whatever strikes out fancy.

So give us a couple weeks and we’ll be back on the air – in the interim, feel free to browse the old stuff. 

You can email questions, comments, and suggestions for articles to averagejoesports@gmail.com

 


Silly Season – 2015 Draft Day – Browns Rumor: They want Bradford??

So there’s a rumor running around Cleveland that with Tennessee basically wanting 2 years worth of 1st & 2nd round picks from the Browns along with a Season Pass to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, the Browns are now trying to get with Philly on a possible trade to get Sam Bradford in an orange helmet. (side note: as a Sooner fan, the thought of a fellow alum wearing anything orange kind of sickens me)

Exploring this a bit further: The Browns reportedly tried to trade the Rams for Bradford earlier this year, but Sam wasn’t willing to sign any sort of extension or long term contract after such a trade as he was not thrilled about the notion of moving to a team with the same issues as St Louis (limited receiving talent, mediocre run game and poor protection on the right side of the line). This opened the door for the Eagles to move in and get Bradford to Philadelphia.

I’m now curious as to what has changed? The Browns still have the same issues. Has someone spoken to Bradford and told him he that playing in Cleveland is much better than being in the same backfield with the 2014 rushing leader and his former roommate from college in an offense that isn’t dissimilar to the one he ran at OU?

 


Huepel & Norvell out at OU – Who’s next?

So Oklahoma had a lot of struggles this year on defense giving up just under 26 points per game which ranks as the 82nd best year an OU defense has had.  Putting aside the injuries on a defense that didn’t have a lot of depth to begin with, that’s a pretty bad year.  So what’s the first thing you do in the off-season?  Well, of course, you fire your Co-Offensive Coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell since they only averaged 36 points per game.  Yes, yes, they laid a big fat egg in the bowl game against Clemson,  but I’m going with the Saban-defense here – it’s hard to motivate players if they aren’t playing for a national championship . . .does that count?

Side note:  That ranks as 21st in the Sooner record books.  For anyone keeping track – since Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell have been the co-offensive coordinators at OU, they have averaged 39.5, 38.2, 32.8 & 36.3 points per game in each season over the past four.  Aside from the 2013 average of 32.8 (the #32 scoring offense in OU history), the other three years the offenses all rank in the top 25.   Clearly the issues here lie with the offense and not the defense. 

I’m not really sure what’s up with this move by Bob Stoops aside from trying to assuage the fears of the torch and pitchfork crowd in Norman.  One would hope that there is some move, of which we are currently unaware, that justifies this action aside from reacting to the spoiled brat fans. 

Watching the games this year, the problems with this team stemmed from two sources, in my opinion.  Louisiana Tech v Oklahoma

One – Aside from the offensive line, they were very young on offense.  Yes, yes, we all know what Trevor Knight did to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last season, but did anyone notice that of the 9 players who caught passes in the Sugar Bowl last season, only two of them returned this season (Sterling Shepard & Taylor McNamara and McNamara was second string this season)?  OU had an entirely new backfield with the departure of Brennan Clay & Roy Finch.  Did anyone notice that?

The Sooners were ranked #3 & #4 in the pre-season polls based on the upset of the mighty Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl and the return of Trevor Knight.  But no one seemed to notice that the offense had a plethora of new faces.  So when they were running up the score in the some 2008, Bradford-esque fashion, the masses became troubled. 

If there are more changes coming in Norman, let’s hope they include some on the other side of the ball.  Things like:

Tackling

Only playing 3 yards off a receiver on a 3rd and 4 instead of 8 yards off

Tackling

Getting pressure on a quarterback

Staying at home on the backside of a running play

Tackling

Better communication between defensive backs so we don’t leave receivers wide open with no over-the-top help from the safety

And most importantly (in case I forgot), TACKLING!

 


Bo Pelini Fires Shots on the Way Out

Bo Pelini will be taking over as Head Football Coach at Youngstown State University next fall after he lost his job at Nebraska.

He had a meeting with his players at a high school and per ESPN he said some very negative things about Nebraska AD, Shawn Eichorst.

“A guy like him, who has no integrity, he doesn’t even understand what a core value is,” Pelini said, according to the contents of the tape. “He hasn’t understood it from the day he got here. I saw it when I first met with the guy. To have core values means you have to be about something, you have to represent something that is important to you. He’s a f—— lawyer who makes policies. That’s all he’s done since he’s been here: hire people and make policies to cover his own ass.”

At the time of his firing by Nebraska, Pelini was due a $7.9 million buyout. There is no non-disparagement clause in that contract that would affect his severance.  There is word that the administration may try to use Pelini’s public rant to get out of the buyout under that clause.

In my opinion, (however unprofessional Pelini was) to do so could negatively affect possible future hires for other coaching positions.  When you consider Pelini has won at least 9 games in each of his seven seasons at Nebraska, who would feel remotely secure in taking any coaching job there knowing that not if you win at least 75% of your games, you can still lose your job and a buyout is on the line as well?


The State of the Saints

As we enter the Free Agency Period today, Rick had the following on the state of his beloved New Orleans Saints of some of the cuts they’ve had so far in the off-season.
 

When we acquired Sproles from the Chargers, it was one of those beautiful synchronous moments in time.  Like when amino acids started partying in the primordial soup and accidentally created life, except far less important to the creation of life on the planet earth.  But synchronous.  Because we had just parted ways with the inconsistent, oft-injured, and cap-heavy Reggie Bush and picked up in return a guy who was better, more consistent, and cheaper.  His production the last three years has even made me forgive him for what he did to the Sooners in the Big XII Championship game.

Nobody was really shocked at our offseason axing of the beloved-but-again Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Jabari Greer.  Cutting Lance Moore was a more bitter pill.  But it wasn’t until we let Sprolesy go that most Saints fans started to hit the panic button.  “Umm, management?” the fans are asking, “Will you kindly tell us (and therefore all other GMs and Player Agents) what the hell you’re doing?”  To which Mickey Loomis has declined, because he’s not stupid. 

With the resigning of Drew Brees two years ago and Jimmy Graham this year, we’ve had to shell out the big bucks for two superstars (something the Saints have little experience with.  That’s taken some painful cuts, and more might be forthcoming.  (If we cut Pierre Thomas, I think there might be a riot in the Marigny district of New Orleans, which will last for two and a half minutes because the rioters would be too drunk or too hipster to remember what they were doing.) 

So those were longer thoughts.  Short thoughts:

1)  We’re starting to wonder what time horizon Mickey Loomis is looking at.  Are we in “Win now” mode or are we in “Structuring” mode or are we hoping to pull off a Patriots-esque hybrid of the two?

2) Bigger than Sproles (literally and figuratively!), we’re shopping O-linemen Zach Strief and Brian De la Puente in free agency.  This is terrifying.  Brees cannot be his masteful wizarding self when he looks like a Wile E. Coyote-shaped grease spot in the turf.  This is where the Saints are really playing Contract Chicken, and how that plays out will dictate by itself the answer to Question #1.

3) Lots of Saints fans are talking about grabbing either Dexter McCluster*** (Chiefs) or Golden Tate (Seahawks) to fill the Sproles void.  Other Saints fans are thinking that we become a more trad-style rushing team and wondering if this is the year Mark Ingram starts to finally live up to his hype.  Other Saints fans are drinking somewhere in the Marigny wondering why they were thinking about rioting.

4) Other big needs in this offseason: cornerback, safety, and wide receiver.  (In that order — remember, we picked up Colston in the 7th round and Stills in the fifth round.)  Unless we lose Strief and BDLP, in which case we’re drafting a cleric.

***Also, Dexter McCluster just signed a three year deal with the Titans, and Sprolesy hasn’t technically been cut yet — http://www.canalstreetchronicles.com/2014/3/11/5497502/saints-news-3-11-14-saints-still-looking-to-trade-darren-sproles

 

 

Rick Lockett is a Senior Staff Writer and has been with AverageJoeSports.com since its inception.

Bryan Harsin heading back to Boise State

Bryan HarsinIt is being reported that Bryan Harsin, who was an assistant in Boise from 2001-2010 was hired by Boise State to be the head coach today.  This is in the wake of Chris Peterson leaving the Broncos last week after 8 seasons to take over at the University of Washington.  Harsin spent the 2011-12 seasons in Austin as the co-offensive coordinator for the Longhorns and was rumored to be on the short list to the Texas job if Mack Brown is convinced to step down this week.  He went 7-5 at Arkansas State this season.

The coaching carosel is in full swirl.  Still “up in the air” (and we don’t think it’s that up in the air) is the status of Mack Brown in Austin.


Sources: Mack Brown Stepping Down at Texas (UPDATED)

Mack-BrownUPDATE: 12/10/2013 – 23:34 PM – ESPN’s Brett McMurphy now reporting that Mack Brown will make the announcement that he is stepping down before the weekend.  Sources close the Mack Brown are saying he prefers to tell his staff and players in person instead of them reading it on the internet.

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UPDATE: 12/10/2013 – 16:34 PM – ESPN’s Joe Schad says Mack Brown has texted 247 SPORTS (HORNS247 section of the site) that he is not going anywhere.  He says, “I haven’t seen [the] article,” Brown wrote in a text message to the website Horns247. “I’m in Florida recruiting. If I had decided to step down, I sure wouldn’t be killing myself down here. I have not decided to step down.”

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12/10/2013 – 15:04 PM – Chip Brown at Orangebloods.com is reporting that Mack Brown will announce that he is stepping down after 16 seasons in Austin.

If Mack leaves, it opens up all kinds of question regarding the rumors of Nick Saban making a move from Tuscaloosa to helm the Longhorn program.  If that were to happen, it would be an unprecendented move. To have a head coach at a blue blood program to leave after 3 national championships in the last 5 seasons, even it is for another blue blood program, just sounds flat out crazy to me.

Other, more likely, rumors include James Franklin the current head coach at Vanderbilt and the former Longhorn offensive coordinator and current Arkansas State Head Coach, Bryan Harsin, taking over control.  It would be Harsin’s first stint as a head coach and while he would be a decent enough choice, Franklin, with what he’s done in Nashville, would be a much better choice.

What say you?


What we learned from Thursday Night

1. Oregon is not for real.  While they have a very fast-paced offense that can put up a load of points on you in a hurry, they are a finesse team that has trouble taking a punch in the mouth as demonstrated last night by Stanford.  The Trees rolled out and shut down the Ducks offense holding them scoreless until the 10 minute mark of the 4th quarter.  By that time they had built a 26-0 lead on the strength of a smash-mouth running game that amassed 274 yards rushing against Oregon’s defense that seemed completely unable to stop the juggernaut.  Stanford has to be the favorite to win the PAC 12 right now.

2.  Baylor is for real.  The Bears got punched in the mouth by Oklahoma’s defense out of the gate in Waco, but held their ground against the Sooner running game.  Oklahoma lead 5-3 at the 8:16 mark of the 2nd quarter.  It’s worth mentioning that Oklahoma was inside the 5 yard line on two different drives in the first half and came away with only 3 points.  At that 8:16 mark, the walls collapsed for OU.  Baylor scored on their next three possessions and lead 24-5 at the half.  It didn’t get any better in the second half where Oklahoma’s offense, led by Blake Bell was only able to muster a single touchdown and the subsequent defeat to the Bears 41-14.  The Bears’ schedule doesn’t get any easier down the stretch with matchups against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU & Texas.  They should at this point be considered the favorite to win the Big XII championship.  As for a shot at the national title, they’ll need help from teams playing against Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State.  Unless two of those three teams lose at least one game, the Bears could likely be left out of the BCS Championship.

3.  There is liable to be a shake-up in Norman.  Thought Bob Stoops said after the game that the loss last night wasn’t Blake Bell’s fault, I would expect a shift over the next couple of games to work Trevor Knight back in as the starting quarterback.  Based on the last couple of games, it has become clear that Bell has issues with the vertical passing game.  He seems to have trouble with accuracy on downfield throws and is much more comfortable with timing routes no more than 10-15 yards where the receiver is on a button-hook (stops and turns around) route.  Another possible shake-up coming, but not before the end of the season, could be co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel and his future with the team.  His play calling has become predictable and his ability to adjust when the game plan isn’t working is a question mark right now.

4. Marcus Mariota lost some ground in the Heisman Race last night.  Though he passed for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Ducks’ loss to Stanford last night, his scoring came after the game was decided.  Per ESPN’s stat tracker had his lowest adjusted QB rating performance of the season at 76.7.  In today’s slam-bang Heisman world, the top prospects have to take the bull by the horns against the toughest opponents on their schedule.  He was unable to do this last night on the national stage and voters tend to take major stock in that.


Two top 10 matchups tonight in College Football

#10 Oklahoma at #6 Baylor – 7:30 PM
#3 Oregaon at #5 Stanford – 9:00 PM

Oklahoma is in Waco to take on the Baylor Bears and hoping to slow down the #1 scoring team in the country. The Bears are averaging 63.9 pionts per game, but they haven’t played a lot of tough competition up to this point. The only teams they’ve played with less than 4 losses so far are Buffalo (7-2) and FBS school Wofford (5-3). The rest of the teams on their schedule are a combined 16-26. Tonight is a proving ground for Baylor. Win this one and they could be on their way to a conference championship.

Oregon heads to Palo Alto with the #2 scoring offense in the country (55.6 pts per game) and will be looking to avenge the 17-14 loss from last season to Stanford the de-railed their potential national championship run. Can the Cardinal pull it off again and ruin the Ducks title shot?


NCAA Football – Night #1 – LET THE GAMES . . .BEGIN!!!

Just a few thoughts on last nights games.

North Carolina 10

South Carolina 27

 Gamecocks jumped out to 17-0 lead in the first quarter in this one.  Looked like it was going to be a blowout, but the Tarheels were able to claw and bite their way back a bit and keep it respectable. Jedeveon Clowney was catching some slack from the sports pundits for “taking a play off” here and there through the course of the game.  Yes, you should be giving 100% effort every play, but considering the unseasonably cool weather we’ve had across the country the past couple of weeks and to suddenly have temps spike into the nineties with the humidity at an Ann Margaret level of sultriness – I think we can give the big boys up front a break for a minute of two in week one with a 17 point win in their pockets.

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 USC 30

Hawaii 13

This one started out ugly for USC.  With three drives in the first quarter, the Tojans only had three points to show for it with two drives stalling – one of them a turnover on downs after failing to convert a 4th and 4 at the Warriors 36.  Hawaii pinned USC back at their own one early in the second and on the first play from scrimmage, Art Laurel sacked Cody Kessler in the endzone for the safety.  Hawaii then got a great return on the ensuing kick to the USC 41 – they settled for a field goal, but did have the lead at the 11:43 mark of the 2nd 5-3.  After that is was all USC as they intercepted Taylor Graham 4 times including a 35 yard return for a TD.  The Warriors problem was a complete lack of balance.  While they did have 208 yards, passing, they only mustered 23 yards rushing.  Not exactly a recipe for success against one of college football’s big boy teams.  For USC, it was still an ugly game and the “tandem QB” system Lane Kiffin is trying to work in, wasn’t so smooth last night.  Kessler and Wittek combined to go 15 of 29 for 172 yards passing, 1 TD and 1 Interception (both by Kessler).  They had ratings of 19.4 and 24.0 respectively.  The only adage is true – If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t really have one.

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Indiana State 35

Indiana 73

Yes, yes, Hoosier fans, Indiana scored 73 points . . .against Indiana State.  Before anyone in Bloomington gets too excited, keep in mind last season when the Hoosiers averaged 30 points per game.  Scoring hasn’t been an issue since Kevin Wilson took over as head coach.  Stopping other teams from scoring has been the chink . . .okay, you can call it a chink in the armor, but others might call it a big gaping hole in the armor.  They gave up 35 points (28 in three quarters) last night . . .to the fighting Sycamores.  So let’s be real and hope some of those problems get addressed as the season progresses.

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Akron 7

UCF 38

UCF in a new conference – the American Athletic Conference (or the New Look Big East or the Old Conference USA Re-United as some would call it), but it’s still the same old Akron.  One would think that having James Madison on the schedule next week would be a god-send for the Zips.  Let’s hope that’s the case and they aren’t suffering a post beat-down, let-down.  This one was pretty much over then Akron got off the plane in Orlando  They didn’t score until there were 38 seconds left in the game.  The Knights shouldn’t necessarily be chest thumping over this one.  The Zips were 1-11 last season.  The Knights will be getting ready for their next powerhouse game when they take on the Panthers of Florida International next Friday night.

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Towson 33

Connecticut 18

This is the “Embarrassing Loss of the Night” – UConn isn’t exactly a dominant team in college football, but to lose to an FCS team on your home field in the season opener is never a good way to start the year.  The Huskies scored first, but Towson answer right back late in the first quarter.  The Tigers added to that lead midway through the second and never trailed after that.  UConn gets next week off to lick their wounds before starting conference play against Maryland on the 14th.   Towson gets to feel good for a minute, but moves on to Holy Cross next week. 

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Ole Miss 39

Vanderbilt 35

At halftime it looked like Vanderbilt had this one under control with a 21-10 lead going into the locker room, but Bo Wallace and the Rebels wouldn’t be denied outscoring the Commodores in the second half 29-14.  The dagger in Vanderbilt’s heart came with 1:23 left in the game when Jeff Scott took the hand-off on the read-option from the Rebs own 25.  He swept around the left end then made a beautiful cutback into the middle where he outran the remainder of the defenders for the go ahead touchdown.  Both of these teams have FCS matchups next week with SE Missouri for Ole Miss and Austin Peay for Vanderbilt which works out nicely for them as they both have marquee matchups the week after that with visits to Austin and Columbia respectively to take on the Longhorns and Gamecocks. 

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Rutgers 51

Fresno State 52 – OT

This game was the very definition of a back and forth battle with 9 lead changes through the course of the contest.  Midway through the second quarter, it looked like Rutgers was going to run away with this one when they opened up a 20-7 lead, but the Bulldogs fought their way back with the turning point coming after Janarion Grant fumbled a punt return.  The subsequent drive lead to a touchdown making it a 20-14 game.  The Dogs capped the first half with an 11 play, 80 yard drive that ended with a 2 yard TD pass from Derek Carr (yep, David’s little brother) to Davante Adams to give Fresno the lead 21-20 going into the locker room.  The second half was a see-saw battle with both teams trading punches back and forth along with the lead.  With Fresno down 45-38 and 1:18 left – Derek Carr put together a 5 play, 60 yard drive capped by a TD pass from the 2 to Josh Harper to tie the game at 45.  Rutgers got the ball back with 38 seconds left and managed to get into field goal range, but Kyle Federico missed the 43 yarder that would have won it as time expired.  In overtime, Carr wasted no time on the Dogs first possession completing a 25 yard pass to Greg Watson for the TD.  Colin McGuire made the PAT to put Fresno up 52-45.  The Scarlet Knights didn’t take much longer on their possession when, on the third play, Gary Nova found Brandon Coleman for a 4 yard TD.  Rutgers decided to go for two points and the win (both teams looked exhausted by this time).  Unfortunately, Derek Nova’s pass was incomplete and your Fresno State Bulldogs have now won 17 of their last 19 home openers.  The two teams combined for 1,080 yards of offense and 5 turnovers.  It wasn’t a defensive struggle, to be sure, but boy-oh-boy was it fun to watch!

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