Cornerback Alterraun Verner had eight tackles (plus one on special teams) and an interception return (12 yards) to the one-yard line that set up a Tennessee touchdown to five Tennesse a 27-20 lead in the Titans’ 34-27 win at Dallas.
Defensive end Dave Ball had three tackles and tipped the pass that Verner intercepted in that win.
Marcedes Lewis had two touchdown receiptions and 54 yards receiving in Jacksonville’s 36-26 win at Buffalo. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 84 yards on 19 carries and made two receptions in the victory.
Linebacker Spencer Havner had five tackles in Detroit’s 44-6 win over St. Louis.
In Cleveland defensive tackle Kenyon Coleman made four tackles, recovered one fumble and had one quarterback hurry.
Brian Price had a quarterback hurry in Tampa Bay’s win at Cincinnati.
In Oakland Bruce Davis played but did not make a tackle. He signed with the Raiders on Tuesday.
Washington safety Chris Horton played but did not make a tackle.
Denver receiver Matt Willis played but did not make a reception.
Minnesota (punter Chris Kluwe) plays tonight.
Week Five Inactives: Arizona Safety Matt Ware; Washington tight end Logan Paulsen (Washington); Green Bay linebacker Brandon Chillar; Chicago running back Kahlil Bell.
Week 5 Byes: New England safety Jarrad Page; receiver/kick returner Matthew Slater.
Thank you once again UCLA Athletics for the information on the Bruins’ NFL exploits over the weekend.
Well, Angelenos, one monopoly really is over. . .the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report has USC ahead of UCLA in their renowned University rankings for the first time ever.
Though the new rubric used to determine the rankings has much to do with this shift, but the budgetary mess strangling the State of California may really be putting a dent in public UCLA’s efforts to keep up financially with the privately funded Trojan coffers.
With all that’s happened with their Athletic Department recently, perhaps Southern Cal will now focus their efforts on being the premier academic institution in the Southland. . .okay, that’s a stretch but still – WOW. Fight on, BRUINS.
*FTR: Though this post originally went live at 3:07pm PST June 3rd, as late as 9:22am PST on June 4th, formal/official reports stated Coach Wooden is in “gravely ill” condition while paradoxically “resting comfortably.” That said, both Bill Walton and Bill Sharman spoke of Coach in the past tense. “We said goodbye today,” Sharman said. “I think he realized it.
John Wooden: UCLA Coach, Teacher, Legend and Wonderful Human Being
(In Memoriam, 1910 – 2010)
As a UCLA alum (Class of 2000), I was privileged to meet Coach Wooden at Pauley Pavilion on one instance, where he handled himself with the class, integrity & elegance for which he is known. I didn’t get more than a “nice to meet you” and a (surprisingly) firm handshake, but even during that brief instance it was evident that this man was genuine, sincere & a good person.
I was also fortunate enough to be able to experience the Scully & Wooden. . .for the Kids with my father (The Count), who presented me with the tickets as a gift. . .and a cherished evening, as both Vin and Coach regaled the audience with anecdotes of their wonderful careers, philosophies & outlooks. I remember Bill Walton’s video tribute to Wooden, where he most remembered coming onto the UCLA campus as a highly-touted freshman ready to be Big Man on Campus, wondering what the legendary Coach would have him do first. . .which ended up being an entire session dedicated to putting on his socks & tying his shoes properly.
More notably, the moderator (TJ Simers) asked the question, If heaven exists, what would they like God to say when they arrive at the pearly gates? Wooden’s response? “Well done,” sparking laughter, applause & a knowing & collective wink from the rapt audience.
Now that the unfortunate circumstances are indeed upon us, I think that God will consider that an understatement.
Here’s to Coach Wooden, R.I.P.
The year was 1988. The date – November 19th. A prototypical day in Southern California – a 66 degree temperature with clear blue skies.
The Troy Aikman-led UCLA Bruins were set to meet the Rodney Peete-quarterbacked USC Trojans. Both teams were ranked in the Top 5 in the nation, and at a robust 10 years of age, I was finally old enough to understand the gravitas of such a matchup. Basking in the afterglow of consecutive L.A. Lakers titles as well as a Dodgers World Series victory, I was on top of the world as a sports fan.
This was my city – these were my teams! Even the Los Angeles Kings were in the news, as Wayne Gretzky was acquired by the franchise, setting the world of hockey on its proverbial ear, and for the first time in the history of the sport, shifting the media attention to the City of Angels. Everything in Los Angeles sports came up Roses. . .quite literally in this case, as the matchup at the RoseBowl would determine the Pac-10 representative in the de facto National Title game.
My parents – both ardent Los Angelenos – hosted a get-together at our house to watch the ballgame. About 15 adults showed up, as well as four of my friends. The house was divided into rooting sections; about half for the Trojans, and half for the Bruins. Though the Trojans were slightly favored, Rodney Peete came down with a nasty case of the measles prior to the game and was questionable, leaving Pat O’Hara as the potential QB for the biggest game in Pasadena in a decade. Terry Donahue and Larry Smith legends already, were set to meet to determine once and for all who really was the supreme team in Los Angeles.
As my parents’ guests arrived one-by-one, the news came straight from the ‘hood: Rodney Peete can play! His Heisman hopes – as well as the dreams of the Trojan faithful – are still alive, and gosh darn it, he’s going to lead them to victory. Well, it was at this moment that destiny smiled upon me. With 19 guests situated in their respective sections, the count (not to be confused with The Count) was 10 Bruins fans and nine Trojans supporters. For no other reason than my obsessive compulsive need for symmetry and balance, I sat in the USC section.
Lo and behold, the Sons of Tommy Trojan led a dramatic 31-22 victory and claimed the Victory Bell for another year.
Me? I was neither happy nor sad for the Trojans, per se, but being able to bask in the afterglow of more Los Angeles revelry etched a permanently positive memory in my subconscious, and since that day I can not root against my fellow Angelenos.
According to a Princeton Review survey of 9,132 college applicants and 3,042 parents of applicants, UCLA ranks No. 1 among public schools and in the Top Seven overall in the category of “Dream Schools” for both the applicants and the parents.
For the survey’s only fill-in-the-blank question, “What ‘dream college’ do you wish you (your child) could attend if acceptance or cost weren’t issues?” respondents wrote in the names of more than 600 institutions from Adrian College to Yale.
The schools most named by students as their “Dream Colleges” were:
1/ Stanford University
2/ Harvard College
3/ New York University
4/ Princeton University
5/ Brown University
6/ Yale University
7/ University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
8/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology
9/ University of Southern California
10/ Cornell University
The schools most named by parents as their “Dream Colleges” were:
1/ Stanford University
2/ Princeton University
3/ Harvard College
4/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5/ Yale University
6/ University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
7/ University of Notre Dame
8/ Brown University
9/ University of Southern California
10/ New York University
Steve Lavin took much heat as he was unceremoniously fired from UCLA. He’s been taking heat since from Bruin fans who think of ‘The Lavin Era’ with scorn and disdain. I look at the seven years with Lav as a good time; six tourney appearances, six 20-win seasons and five Sweet Sixteens. At UCLA, the expectations are higher butLav was a first-time head coach TWO years removed from being a third-assistant. He was given an opportunity that was AT THE TIME was over his head. He learned, he knows the game and he will succeed at St. John’s.
See ya in the Final Four 2014, Red Storm.
After enjoying seeing two wonderful point guards battle last night in the Thunder vs. Hornets game, I ‘happened’ to notice that both of these speed demon playmakers happened to attend the same school – UCLA.
This had me thinking, and I didn’t need to think terribly hard to put some pieces together. . .UCLA has SEVEN point guards playing concurrently in the NBA. I am not certain about this (help welcomed), but I’m not certain any university has produced seven NBA point guards TOTAL.
From this point forward, UCLA is heretofore known as POINT GUARD UNIVERSITY.
Check out this list:
Baron Davis – UCLA Point Guard, 1997 – 1999
Earl Watson – UCLA Point Guard, 1997 – 2001
Cedric Bozeman, UCLA Point Guard, 2001- 2004*
Jordan Farmar – UCLA Point Guard, 2004 – 2006
Arron Afflalo- UCLA Point Guard, 2004 – 2007
Russell Westbrook- UCLA Point Guard, 2006 – 2008
Darren Collison- UCLA Point Guard, 2005 – 2009
Jrue Holiday- UCLA Point Guard, 2008 -2009
*Bozeman was a tall point guard in the same vain as Magic Johnson, a McDonald’s All-American that tore his ACL as a sophomore and never fulfilled his potential as an offensive playmaker. That said, he still played two years in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks.
Take a look at the year-to-date stats for each of the contributors:
|UCLA Point Guard||MPG||PPG||APG||Steals|
In short, this is an amazing feat and Ben Howland should be commended, and perhaps not fired as some bloggers have indicated. This is a reflection of a great program with a great reputation, and further builds upon the mystique and mythology associated with the Bruin Nation.
Ask most loyal Los Angelenos about the ‘glaring’ lack of professional football in town, and the response you get will be somewhere between ennui and malaise. . .the fact is, we have so much drama, so many storylines, and frankly such good programs (53 NFL players drafted out of USC since 2002, 23 NFL draftees from UCLA) that we really don’t need a squad.
The mumbo jumbo about the team in City of Industry is just that – another annual blusterfest by the local ‘magnates’ and wealthy big-shots that are hellbent on stealing a moribund franchise from their loyal fanbase (hint = ), since expansion is most likely going to be international, if at all before the close of this current decade.
In the meantime, L.A. fans are more than content to watch the Lakers, Dodgers, Kings & yes, even the Clippers, all the while enjoying some of the most entertaining Gridiron drama in the Nation. Without further adieu,
L.A. Football Scene: The Players
Lane Kiffin – Currently, the star of the group – stepping right in for Uncle Pete and taking drawing media attention like matter to a Black Hole. A lightning rod nationally, Kiffin is the impetus for destruction & hatred in Knoxville to celebration & recruting coups in Watts.
Norm Chow – the phenomenal coordinator (who somehow can’t land a head gig) has been a Guru for quarterbacks has become ingrained in a tug-of-war between Kiffin (who offers more $$$ and a stronger ‘program’) and Neuheisel (who can offer a beautiful campus & coeds, a superior academic institution and less controversy).
Rick Neuheisel – The incorrigably brash, kinetically energetic Neuheisel is all of a sudden the Dean of L.A. Football coaches. This morning, he was on The Dan Patrick Show saying his biggest regret about Carroll leaving was that he “wouldn’t get one more shot.” He’s actively pursuing recruits (including his own Norm Chow) and has this season to really dig his heels in and end the Football Monopoly in Los Angeles, OFFICIALLY.
Mike Garrett - The Trojans Athletic Director apparently had beef with Carroll prior to the controversy, hardly even speaking to his head coach (and Cash Cow) since the regular season finished. Regardless, he made a shrewd – if not desperate – hire with Kiffin, and this roll of the dice will probably determine his future. My favorite aspect of Garrett is his hubris and sheer reluctance to really speak to the media, kind of reminds you of another USC Heisman winner. . .
Dan Guerrero - the sharp, austere leader of the Bruin Athletic family, Guerrero has been remarkably quiet throughout. It’s not quite his place to speak up. . .yet. Rest assured, though – shall something happen with Chow, or shall Neuheisel not sustain the forward momentum of the UCLA program, heads WILL roll. Guerrero does not take kindly to mediocrity.
Monte Kiffin – can’t fault a supportive father. Also, can’t fault a son that respects his Dad to the extent that he won’t coach without him. Lastly, can’t fault any of Kiffin’s stout defenses.
Ed Orgeron - a monster recruiter, word was he hit the phones with Tennessee recruits quite literally the exact second that he left the Tennessee job. A tenacious personality, effective coach and part-time actor, he carries the presence and intimidation factor that USC needs yet again as they try to bully their way through the Pac-10.
Pete Carroll – and it all comes back to Uncle Pete. Dynamic, insidious, industrious, vivacious, unflappable, charasmatic and one HELLUVA football coach, this Los Angeles legend Bolted like Usain as soon as he saw Death (Penalty) around the corner. Can’t blame him – the skies of Seattle are gorgeous and the rain is more like mist, and their writers, though strong, tend to take a liking to hometown athletes. The fans are even more supportive.
That said, without Pete leaving, none of this takes place and Los Angeles truly is a Trojan Town, frankly as long as Pete wants it to be. . .but alas, the man jump shipped and here we are, with the entire nation talking about L.A. COLLEGE football, right during the professional football Playoffs.
Enjoy, L.A. Fans – you are blessed. And you still get the best games on Sundays without being tied to a dubious matchup.
The always-informative Mel Kiper, Jr. grades Bruin DL Brian Price in a recent insider column:
We start with UCLA’s Brian Price. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle had four tackles for loss and two sacks in the Bruins’ win over Arizona State. Since Price’s freshman season, I’ve been impressed with the way he explodes off the football. A power and leverage guy with an impressive rip move, Price has a knack for being able to make big plays in the opponent’s backfield. Although offensive coordinators enter each week intent on neutralizing his charge, he still has amassed 20.5 TFL and seven sacks through 11 games.
As usual, Sam Farmer takes a great angle in today’s Times. I wish I could have the accompanying graphic, but the folks at the Times didn’t convert the file into pdf to scan in. I mean, it’s only 2009 so who needs technology, right? Either way, see below for Farmers picks of the best players in the NFL from USC & UCLA at their respective positions.
Backfield: There are four USC quarterbacks in the NFL, and Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer (first in 2003), Arizona’s Matt Leinart (10th in 2006) and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez (fifth in 2009) were top-10 draft picks. UCLA’s Maurice Jones-Drew was overshadowed by USC’s Reggie Bush in college, but he now leads the league with 13 rushing touchdowns.
Line: There are two tackles, two guards and a center in the league — all Trojans.
Receivers: The tight ends include something old (USC’s Billy Miller of Houston, a 10-year veteran), something new (USC’s Fred Davis, in his second year with Washington), something borrowed (UCLA’s Spencer Havner of Green Bay, a converted linebacker) and something blue (Bruins blue — Marcedes Lewis of Jacksonville). Out wide the choices are fewer. USC’s Steve Smith is Eli Manning’s favorite target, with 65 catches and five touchdowns for the New York Giants. USC’s Dwayne Jarrett (Carolina) is in his third pro season and hasn’t scored a touchdown.
Kicker: Last season, Dallas didn’t have a touchback. With USC’s David Buehler handling kickoffs, it has 17.
Line: Four USC products anchor the interior of NFL defenses as starters — Sedrick Ellis (New Orleans), Mike Patterson (Philadelphia), LaJuan Ramsey (St. Louis) and Shaun Cody (Houston). UCLA’s Kenyon Coleman (Cleveland) gets the nod at end, opposite USC’s Lawrence Jackson, who has four sacks for Seattle.
Linebacker: Brian Cushing (Houston), Rey Maualuga (Cincinnati) and Clay Matthews (Green Bay) were starters at USC a year ago, as was Kaluka Maiava, who is playing a major role in Cleveland. USC’s Lofa Tatupu is Seattle’s best defensive player, but he is injured. Former Trojans star Junior Seau is back with New England.
Secondary: USC’s Troy Polamalu is having an injury-plagued season, but he will wind up in Canton. Terrell Thomas, another former Trojan, has three interceptions for the Giants. UCLA’s Chris Horton has 37 tackles and a forced fumble for the Redskins, and former Bruin Matt Ware has an interception and a forced fumble for Arizona.
Punter: UCLA’s Chris Kluwe (Minnesota) has punted for a net average of 38.4 yards.
In addition, Farmer has another excellent piece on Bruin & Trojan Hall of Famers. . .and those who will be.
There are 11 former USC players and four former UCLA players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are:
USC: Marcus Allen, Morris (Red) Badgro, Frank Gifford, Ronnie Lott, Ron Mix, Anthony Munoz, O.J. Simpson, Lynn Swann, Willie Wood, Ron Yary, Bruce Matthews.
UCLA: Troy Aikman, Tom Fears, Jim Johnson, Bob Waterfield.
Nine of note
Nine outstanding players from each school who are not in the Hall of Fame:
Junior Seau: Prototype for modern linebacker, member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for 1990s.
Carson Palmer: Heisman Trophy winner is the centerpiece for turnaround of Cincinnati Bengals.
Willie McGinest: A defensive cornerstone of New England’s three Super Bowl champions.
Troy Polamalu: Pittsburgh’s mane man is widely regarded among the NFL’s best defenders.
Tony Boselli: First-ever pick of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars and the expansion Houston Texans.
Keyshawn Johnson: One of two receivers taken with the No. 1 pick in the NFL’s modern era.
Don Mosebar: All-Pro anchor of the Raiders offensive line was just the third center in franchise history.
Jack Del Rio: Spent 11 years as an NFL linebacker for five teams and now is coach at Jacksonville.
Joey Browner: Minnesota Vikings safety was selected to six Pro Bowls.
Jonathan Ogden: Baltimore left tackle was a nine-time All-Pro and 11-time Pro Bowler.
Carnell Lake: Star safety finished his career with 25 sacks, 33 takeaways and five touchdowns.
Ken Norton Jr.: Linebacker won three consecutive Super Bowls — two with Dallas, one with San Francisco.
Kenny Easley: Seattle safety was 1983 defensive player of the year and is on NFL’s All-Decade team for 1980s.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Jacksonville’s bowling-ball back currently leads NFL with 13 rushing touchdowns.
Donnie Edwards: Fourth-round pick of Kansas City intercepted 28 passes, four shy of NFL record for linebackers.
Don Rogers: 1984 defensive rookie of the year showed spectacular promise before his untimely death.
Freeman McNeil: Remarkably consistent tailback averaged at least 4.0 yards a carry in each of his 12 seasons.
Max Montoya: Four-time Pro Bowl guard for Cincinnati and Raiders played in both Bengals’ Super Bowls.