The mere word ignites some of the great images in the history of the sports we follow. Magic. From Gayle Sayers to Ervin Johnson and his Showtime Lakers, it’s all about smooth, with a touch of elusive mixed in.
I know it was what Alan Iverson would refer to as “practice”. I get he was wearing a DON’T TOUCH sign in the form of a red jersey. Still, you had to get a special sense watching Marcus Mariota in the Spring Game. I said a couple of weeks ago my guy was telling me he was the guy. I know we witnessed some nice work from Bryan Bennett out of the bullpen in 2011, but M.M seems born to orchestrate Chip Kelly’s offense. As we file football for the next few months, I’ll fully anticipate this young guy taking the reigns and igniting a serious run at a 4th consecutive conference title.
A year ago much conversation focused on who picks up the slack with super studs Drew Davis & Jeff Maehl in the NFL.
The odd answer turned out to be no one who was actually a wide receiver by trade. De’Anthony Thomas was spectacular, but has that RB by his name on the roster sheet. Until his dazzling finale in the Rose Bowl Lavasier Tuinei was not exactly what you’d call a go to guy. Josh Huff started the year hurt and never really exploded the way many anticipated his sophomore year.
You scanned the list of White versus Green and saw an array of highly decorated recruits who arrived in Eugene to much fanfare. During a recent conversation with Mark Helfrich I was informed two had clearly separated themselves during practice: Daryle Hawkins and Blake Stanton.
Duck fans are obviously familiar with the work of Daryle, who has seen the field during the run to both the Natty and Pasadena. Stanton, who was a Crespi High teammate of Bryan Bennett and got his feet wet a tad last season, was the leading pass catcher in the Spring Game.
We know one thing for sure, that duet, along with Rahsaan Vaughn, Tacoi Sumler or whoever is on the receiving end of passes will earn that right by blocking their heads off. Like coach Scott Frost preaches, “No Block, No Rock”.
I follow the NFL extremely closely. You could use the word junkie for sure. I read a few dozen “mock” drafts, articles, blogs, projections and any other form of analysis or prognostication.
I did not hear one, aside from a listener named David who e-mailed me on January 6 and felt if the Broncos didn’t take him, the 49ers were a dark horse to select LaMichael James. He cited coach Jim Harbaugh’s familiarity with LMJ.
None of the so-called experts had a clue. I find it a very interesting pick. They signed former Giant starter Brandon Jacobs to back up feature back Frank Gore, but he’s more of a bruiser.
A year ago they drafted Kendall Hunter in the 4th round out of Oklahoma State. At 5’7” and 199 pounds he is eerily similar in stature to James.
Will LaMike get an opportunity as a returner? Well San Fran’s top guy, Tedd Ginn was one of the most dangerous in the league taking back both a punt and kick for TD’s prior to getting injured late in the year.
James is saying all the right things. He told sfgate.com he’s willing to do anything to help his new team, including running down on kickoffs or block field goals. Be very curious to see one of the great Ducks ever earn his keep at the next level. Gotta feel for Darron Thomas.
I wrote in this very column after the announcement he was making himself eligible for the NFL draft that I was confused. I did not think he’d get drafted. I scan the entire league and do not see another quarterback who reminds me of D.T. Great, great collegiate QB, my personal favorite all time Duck, but with certain accuracy issues, lacking the cannon and limited in the speed area, I didn’t see his game transferring well. Hope he gets his shot, but I’ll forever wonder about the wisdom of his decision or if he simply felt another was truly capable of beating him out for his job, despite the unparalleled success his two seasons running the show. Gotta send along mega congratulations to Jen Larsen-Beck and her fantastic lacrosse team who rolled Stanford 13-10 last Sunday to win the MPSF Conference championship to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA’s, a first for this still young program.
The Cardinal had won the league 7 years running. I was at the regular season finale when they bounced Denver to capture the top seed for the conference tourney. They will be hosting Navy, who just won their third straight Patriot League championship. This is very cool and if you haven’t checked out this dynamic sport, you have a chance this Saturday at Pape Field at 1 p.m.