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By Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
You hear the word ‘resolve’ a lot in the world of sports. It’s mostly said by coaches hoping that their team will rebound after a tough game. I suppose you could argue that some other words could be used instead, but maybe it is a good time for me to suggest some quick resolutions for some folks in the realm I cover.
First of all, I have a resolution for Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo. After years of bravado, maybe it’s time for this signal caller to put up or shut up. How do you keep Romo away from your festivites? Tell him he’ll have to play a big game there.
Seriously, I’m tired of hearing that this guy could be the next Brett Favre. (Though he does have the off-field drama queen role down pat). Either he shows what he can do in a pressure situation (this weekend against the Giants is a great opportunity) or it is time to turn off the hype machine.
Next up, LeBron James. We know what this so-called “King” can do in the NBA regular season. However, we’ve been told that LeBron just needed a better cast of characters around him before he could win the title.
That excuse floated out the window when he left Cleveland for Miami last year, and he started talking about the multiple championships that the Heat would acquire. Funny thing is, in the 2011 NBA Finals, the best player on the court was Dallas’ Dirk Nowitski (who let his game do the talking for him).
Therefore, until the Miami Heat win the big one, maybe it’s time all of us have this joint resolution: We saw Michael Jordan play. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time. LeBron James, you’re no Michael Jordan.
Now for a more local resolution. For the Oregon football team, it’s pretty simple. The Ducks have had three marvelous seasons under head coach Chip Kelly. Going to two Rose Bowls in the past three years (and playing in the BCS championship in the one between) is nothing to sneeze at.
But in early 2012, they need to do something to solidify their 2011 campaign as a step in an even higher direction. They’re playing Wisconsin in Pasadena this Monday, and should probably borrow the mantra from the late Al Davis. Yep, they need to “just win, baby.”
You’ll find a an article written by myself an Mr. Don Smalley on what the Ducks (and Badgers) need to do to come out ahead on Monday. What that article DOESN’T tell you is what will happen.
As I see it, it comes down to one factor I didn’t list: De’Anthony Thomas. The freshman phenom can do it all from lining up in the backfield, running a pass route, even returning kicks. Some have said Oregon hasn’t seen an offense like Wisconsin’s yet. (That’s bunk! They were called the Stanford Cardinal).
The truth is, I don’t think the Badgers (or any other Big-10 school) has seen an athlete quite like DAT this year. I’m looking for him to have a big day in front of his Southern California relatives, and that’ll be a big reason why the Ducks will finally get that elusive Rose Bowl win. Here’s my prediction: Oregon 42, Wisconsin 31.
Let’s get to one or two of my resolutions before I wrap this one up. First, I intend to keep my long standing resolution not to every play leap frog with a unicorn. (I’ve heard that can be painful). I’m also planning to try and be a little nicer…but we’ll see how that goes. It may take a little more ‘resolve’ on my part.
Seriously, 2011 had it’s ups and downs for me. But this was a good year, and my resolution is to take the EDN sports section and continue to mold it into something worthy of your constant attention. We’ve had some great articles in our first year, but we want to take what is good and make it even better.
We’re going to be starting some weekly reviews for both college and prep basketball that I know you’ll want to read. You’ll also find even more profiles than ever before. For that matter, you’ll probably find EDN in some places you didn’t necessarily think we’d go. Here’s a perfect example: The WWE is coming to Matt Knight Arena in February, and I intend to be there. (Look out Triple H, here I come). So check back here and watch the evolution happen.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.
By Sam Finley, EDN
Bet you didn’t see that one coming on Saturday, did you? Oh, not that the Ducks would beat Nevada. I think everyone thought it would be a mismatch, and most had Oregon scoring anywhere from 40 to 50 points. But a 69-20 victory over the Wolf Pack? No, that was a little more than I expected.
Then again, while I thought Darron Thomas would have a better passing game than he did against LSU, I didn’t see him tying a school record with six touchdown passes in one game. That’s why I’ll go out on a limb and say he’ll have a chance to break that record this weekend. Here’s my prediction: Oregon 72, Missouri State 10.
Now that I’ve gotten my Saturday prediction out of the way, I have to say I’m still impressed by what I saw from another DT: De’Anthony Thomas. Let me be clear: I knew he’d be a special player, and I wrote off his two fumbles against LSU as freshman growing pains.
That being said, his putting up around 200 yards of total offense so soon against anyone is a worthy feat. There’s no question which running back will be getting the handoffs when LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner need a breather.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked about De’Anthony’s big day. He is, after all, under the tutelage of running backs coach Gary Campbell. He hasn’t really developed THAT many good backs since 1983. No, aside from Reuben Mayes,Derek Loville, Maurice Morris, Onterrio Smithp, Jonathan Stewart, and LaMichael James (just to name a handful), Campbell has been average at best.
In all seriousness, Gary Campbell has worked wonders as a long time member of the Oregon coaching staff, and is a classy guy to boot. Hmmm, maybe I should do a profile piece for EDN on him in the near future? I’ll have to take it up with the sports editor. But he’s a nice guy who I know better than anyone else, so maybe I can make it happen.
Staying on the topic of Oregon assistants, and I don’t mean to shamelessly self-promote in my column, but you really should check out the fall issue of Eugene Magazine. I have a short piece about Oregon wide receivers coach Scott Frost, and it’s all about his time at Nebraska and in the NFL, as well as what he likes about working at the U of O.
Moving onto other things, did anyone see Serena Williams’ tasteless behavior at the U.S. Open on Sunday? That she tried to get away with a distractive shout before Sam Stosur had the chance to hit the ball is despicable by itself. If she was a young tennis pro playing her first major event, it would be one thing. Unfortunately, Serena has played long enough to know that kind of tact just doesn’t cut it.
However, continually berating the official after you’ve been (and correctly I might add) penalized a game point is way out of line. I’m disappointed that the USTA only fined her $2,000 for the shenanigans, but I’m glad that Stosur won. While Williams whined and moaned, Stosur kept her mouth shut and let her tennis racket do the talking. Sometimes, good things happen to the right people in the end.
Speaking of the end, maybe it’s time if you’re a Dallas Cowboys’ fan (and thankfully, I’m not) to understand that Tony Romo is not going to hack it as a big-time quarterback. I had a little chat with a buddy of mine after Dallas built a 24-10 lead against the New York Jets on Sunday night. My exact words to him were to wait and see: the Cowboys were going to turnover the ball once or twice, and Romo was going to be the guilty culprit.
Moments after I made that statement, Romo fumbled the ball at the Jets’ one yard line. If he holds on, the ‘Boys probably get at least a field goal and leave New Jersey with a win. Instead, his botched ball gave the Jets new life, and they found a way to tie it up late.
Then, in the final minute, Tony Romo decided to make up for that mistake by throwing a ball in the same direction as Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis. Everyone, including the ball boy knows that Revis might be the best DB in the NFL right now, and you don’t take that risk. Why? Because he’ll likely intercept your pass, and that’s exactly what happened.
It’s also why the Jets won 27-24 on a field goal shortly after Revis’ pick. If I were a Cowboys’ fan, I’d be calling on owner Jerry Jones to get rid of him after all these choke jobs he’s pulled the last few years. But again, I’m not, so I guess he’s Dallas’ problem.
My problem right now is I have a lot more to say, but not enough time to write it in. Maybe that’s why the good folks at EDN let me do this on a weekly basis. But check out my usual profile piece on Friday. I, tenatively, have a fascinating piece about a certain member of the Oregon offensive line. Should be a good read.
In the meantime, I’ll see you in the bleachers.
Sam Finley has been the EDN sports editor since June 2011. You can e-mail your feedback to him at [email protected]