Friday, July 14, 2006

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Friday, July 07, 2006

A Friday night walk around the blogosphere

Wow what a week! After a busy holiday weekend on call I’ve had to play catch-up with various work related issues this week and I am just now able to get back into my blog headfirst. The Jaco Pastorious post was just for fun, one of my visitors wanted to here more about Jaco so I put that piece together quickly. I will try to do part 2 as time permits but I need to catch up on the SC Athletic scene first.

HP has an interesting take on whether Charles Woodson was more deserving than Peyton Manning to win the 1997 Heisman Trophy. He makes some interesting points, and his conclusion does follow his Heismandments, but I still feel Peyton got jobbed. Oh well.

I don't know...

Bruins Nation had great post on the verbal commitment of top Basketball recruit O.J. Mayo to USC. I will hold any premature celebration in check until I actually see his signature on the paper. Even if he does sign the consensus is that he will be “one and done” and on his way to the NBA. I am even more intrigued that he picked SC, don’t get me wrong, this is great news and good get for Tim Floyd but I am having a hard time understanding how this helps the anemic SC basketball program if leaves after one year. If he stays 3 years than that’s a different story, his influence will go a long way to landing other top recruits. So stay tuned.

Will he make a difference?

BN also had an intriguing post on the possibility of luring Steve Spurrier to UCLA. I for one would welcome it if it were a possibility. That would turn the USC/UCLA rivalry on its ear. That move would produce some great games. Sadly though I think the Ole’ Ball coach’s salary is little out of the Bruins price range, but one can always hope.

Burnt Orange Nation continues to impress. Peter has put up a couple of great posts on Football National Champs and how they fared the next year. I think it is safe to say that SC has more than its fair share of work cut out for them if they want to get to the NC game in 2007. The odds are against them. Peter does great research as does Kyle over at Dawg Sports with his post on Georgia recruiting. Where do these guys find this stuff!? It’s just amazing!

Nico over at Roll Bama’ Roll continues is look at What to Watch: Week One of the 2006 CFB Season. He is quickly becoming one of the top bloggers on SB Nation.

DC Trojan continues his great posts on the World Cup. He and Thistle71 really do have a quit wit. My interest waned when Germany was eliminated. Of course that’s what happens when you marry into a German family, Please pass the Wurst.

This was the theme in our house

Finally, there has been a lot of talk about around the blogosphere lately about expanding the Pac-10. I won't claim to be an expert because others have made the argument much more eloquently than I ever could so I will ask just a simple question.

What's in it for the Pac-10?

They obviously won't expand for money. The multiple rivalries within the conference make for some exciting games now. What would the two new teams offer to the Pac-10. There have been some comments regarding academics that raise the bar pretty high for expansion consideration. In the end I just don't see it happening. It's not like the Pac-10 needs it to compete with other conferences in challenging for national titles in the major sports.

Expansion is not in the cards

In the end the Pac-10 will stay as it is.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Just for Fun but Completely of topic: The Music of Jaco Pastorious

For those of you into Jazz the name Jaco Pastorious is not foreign to you.

In 1987 the world lost the most prolific electric bass player ever to play the instrument. Jaco changed the way the instrument was played and spawned a whole generation of great Bass players. Jimmy Haslip, Gerald Veasley, Marcus Miller, Richard Bona and Victor Wooten just to name a few.

While Jaco's music is considered seminal work by some, interest has ebbed and flowed over the years. His work with Joni Mitchell, Weather Report and Pat Metheny is true hall of fame material especially his work with Joni Mitchell.

A friend of mine, Jeff, played bass with Blood Sweat and Tears in the 80s and he told me that Jaco WAS the standard but that Jaco's genius was not just in his playing but also in his composing and arranging. This was also said about the great Jazz Double Bassist Charles Mingus. Jaco had an incredible feel for how a song should be arranged and played and he could get the instrument to sing.

In 2003 the members of Jaco's big band, Word of Mouth, got together to re-release some of Jaco's work. Now I have never been a big fan of compilation albums or box sets. If the music is good enough it should stand on its own. Box sets, greatest hits and compilation albums are seen by some, including me, as money grabs by artists who have lost their fortunes or glory and are now attempting to cash in on past fame. The Who did this in 89' with Tommy and critics panned it as the "We Won't Go Broke Again" tour. Couple that with the 14 back-up singers, percussionists and horn section to replace the great Keith Moon and you have commercialism at its finest. But I digress.

So in 2003 Jaco's big band released "Word of Mouth Revisited". A collection of some of Jaco's finest work with a twist, each song had a different guest bass player. This is a neat concept, each bass player keeps to Jaco's arrangement but their individual style is peppered throughout the song.

Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets opens up with a stunning rendition of "Havona", Richard Bona improvs on "Punk Jazz", Gerald Veasley's rendition of "Elegant People" really swings but the best is Victor Wooten who hammers out "Teen Town". Even Jaco's nephew David gets in to the act on "Opus Pocus".

All in all this is a refreshing look at Jaco's music as seen through the eyes of his loyal followers. When the band went on tour in 2004, I was lucky to see Victor Wooten in the guest bass players seat at the Iridium Jazz Club in NYC. He is truly a master of his domain.

Jaco's family has preserved his musical legacy in such a way as to not sully it with commercialism. Of course they will make some money off the deal, as is their right, but they have done it in such a way that it preserves the legacy of perhaps the greatest Jazz Electric Bass player the world has ever known.

More to come... Up next, The Word is Out.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Light Blogging for the Hoilday Weekend

I meant to put this up Friday night but the weekend started of with a bang. I am on call until Wednesday for the group so I will be running around from Hospital to Hospital putting out the various fires that are sure to come up. It has already been pretty busy, gotta love those rollerblades and Razor scooters, they don't mix well with alchohol.

When I return I will finish my review of USC's 2006 team with a look at the defense.

Happy 4th of July to one and all!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Blogpoll Roundtable: EDSBS Style

Ok, so I'm not a voting member of the Blogpoll. As usual The boys over at EDSBS decided that we all should have a say and came up with their own version of the Blogpoll Roundtable. Clever one guys!

1) Education. List the region of the country you were born in, what universities you attended and at least one other you would have attended if your alma mater didn't exist.

Born : Los Angeles, California.

Undergraduate: Seeing that I didn't go to college my real life education was earned courtesy of the US Navy. Stops along the tour included the 1st Marine Division Camp Pendleton, CA and The National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

Grad School: Numerous deployments overseas that include a myriad of third world countries that hate the USA. At least the Med was as beautiful as I imagined.

Universities you would attend if your alma mater didn't exist: The University of Southern California, of course. Or the the US Naval Academy. Let's just say that concentrating on my studies in High School was not a priority.

2) Sports Affiliations. List your top 10 favorite teams in all of sports in order. For instance, your alma mater's football team may be number 1, but perhaps there is a professional team that squeezes in before you get to your alma mater's lacrosse team.
  1. USC Football
  2. The Washington Redskins, during the first Gibbs era
  3. USC Football
  4. The Baltimore Orioles, During the Ripken era
  5. USC Football
  6. Navy Football, but only when they play Army or ND
  7. USC Baseball, well my dad played for Dedeaux
  8. The LA Lakers, during Magic's era
  9. USC Football
  10. The NY Jets, to keep the wife happy
3) Movies. List the movie you've watched the most, your favorite sports related movie, the movie you secretly love but don't like to admit it (possibly a chick flick or b film), and the movie you were (or still are) most looking forward to from this summer's season.

Movies I've watched the most: Wall Street, that whole Greed is Good thing.

4) Music. List your favorite band from middle school, high school, college and today. Also, as with the movies, include the song you secretly love but don't like to admit. If Nickleback is involved in any of these responses, please give a detailed explanation as to why, god, why.

Middle School: KISS, Ok so I'm a little older than most. I still remember getting KISS Alive I for my birhday and shreading two needles on my dads Sansui turntable.

High School: 1) Rush, by then I had my first drumset and I was determined to play along on the whole first side of 2112 while never missing a beat. 2) Van Halen, I saw them at Gazzarri's on the Sunset Strip right before they put out their firrst album in 1978. I never missed a tour until David Lee Roth left the group.

This guy is still my favorite

Navy: Pretty much the same as high school

Today: Well I gone in a lot of different direstions. I still hold onto Rush as my favorite group. I haven't missed a tour since Permanent waves in 1980 and I saw them last year at Radio City Music Hall for the R30 Tour. I have gotten more into Jazz, easier on the eardrums. I've spent a lot of time at the Irridium Jazz Club in NYC seeing a lot of the greats perform. From Les Paul to the Yellowjackets to Jaco Pastorius' Big Band. I still want to see Pat Metheny.

Secret Music Love: That tends to change as life happens. The Doobie Brothers "Without You" is my current secret music love because of the recent loss of some close to me.

5) Books. Favorite book you've finished, worst book you've finished and the book you really should read but haven't gotten around to it.

Favorite: Faith of My Fathers; Sen. John McCain and My Father, My Son; Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Lt. Elmo Zumwalt Jr.

Worst: Beacuse He Could ; Dick Morris

Need to read: Fly Boys; James Bradley

6) Travel. Favorite city you've ever been to and the one place you still must visit before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Favorite: St. Barts, it's easy to get to and easy to disappear while you're there.

It's easy to lose yourself here

Must Visit: Cuba. I have learned a lot about my Cuban heritage form my mom in the past few years and I would like to see it with her, but when I see it I hope the people are as free as we are here. Also Germany so that my wife can reconnect with her heritage.

7) What do you love most about college football in 20 words or less?

It reminds me of time spent with my dad.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Baseball Update: Mosiello named assitant to Kreuter

Coach Kreuter hired Bill Mosiello from the Yankees A team in Charleston S.C. and Tim Burton former Cal Poly Pomona assistant.

Mosiello's Bio from the Charleston Riverdogs Website

2005 will be Mosiello’s third season with the Yankees organization. He began the 2004 campaign as hitting coach for Class A Battle Creek in the Midwest League, before being named manager of the team on May 11 when Mitch Seoane was reassigned to the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, FL. Mosiello guided Battle Creek to a 58-50 record.

Mosiello, 40, graduated from Fresno State University in 1986 and began his collegiate coaching career at Cerritos Junior College in California, leading the team to three state championships. He boasts a wealth of collegiate coaching experience, including stints at Cal State Fullerton (1991-1992) where he helped win a National Championship, University of Tennessee (1993-1994), University of Mississippi (1995), Oklahoma University (1996-2000) and Arizona State University (2001).

His managerial experience includes the Alaska Summer League (where he was named manager of the year twice), the Cape Cod League and the Great Lakes League.

A look at USC in 2006: The Offense

Dwayne Jarrett 2005 Orange Bowl

So I finally picked up my first Steele CFB Review. WOW! That’s a lot of information.

The first thing that jumps out is that he has SC going 12-0 in 5 out of his 7 power rankings. Interesting.

I’m not so sure that’s realistic. As I have said in the past SC has lost too much talent on the offense. Without a lot of big game experience I’m worried about the chemistry with all these new faces. There is no doubt that Pete Carroll has the gift of landing big time recruits. And he is legendary at motivating people to perform with his “if you’re good enough, you’ll start” philosophy that has produced some exciting players to watch over the years. These are my thoughts. Note: Any references to stats are Steele’s.

Today The Offense:

  • Is JDB’s back ready to take the day in and day out pounding that he would receive as the teams #1 starter? If not there is no doubt that Mark Sanchez has the talent but he lacks the game experience as well. If Booty’s back is suspect that would move Sanchez to #1 which would mean 3rd stringer McDonald would have to get his chops up to be available to step in at a moments notice.

  • Last years Offensive line was probably the best in the country. They gave up 17 sacks (3.5%) and primed the running game with a punishing 6 yards per carry. This years offensive line has only 2 starters returning, C Ryan Kalil and LT Sam Baker. Obviously the O line will not be as dominant as last years but they should be a solid unit and will get the job done. With LG Jeff Byers returning from a hip injury he will add some game experience and help shore up the backside. RG Chilo Rachal will start on the right side and his significant playing time last year will also provide some stability. RT will either be Kyle Williams or Charles Brown. TE Fred Davis had moderate contributions last year and has some big shoes to fill with the loss of Dominque Byrd.

  • The running back situation will be the most intriguing to watch. Now that Washington is academically eligible we should finally see just how good he is. Hershel Dennis is out with an ACL tear and I feel we will never see him in a Trojan uniform again. Desmond Reed is still a question with his torn knee ligaments that he suffered in last years ND game. SR Ryan Powdrell will also see some action as will Michael Coleman. Incoming freshman RB’s Emmanuel Moody and CJ Gable will put Coach Carroll’s philosophy to the test.

  • Provided that Booty settles into Sarkisian and Kiffin’s scheme and he has the time to throw the receiving corps will be something to watch. Jarrett is the lynch pin of the receivers. His size makes him a big target and he uses his size to get the advantage on those who cover. The two plays that stand out for me were the 4th and 9 play against ND and his TD catch in the 4th qtr. of the Rose Bowl where he gets up high on 2 Longhorn defenders. He’s a special player. Steve Smith is returning for his senior season. After having a great game against OU in the 2005 Orange Bowl he lived in Jarrett’s shadow last year and had about the same year as he had in 2004. He needs to have a big year if wants to go high in next years draft. SR Chris McFoy had a better year in 2004 than he did in 2005 and will see some action. Is Patrick Turner the next Jarrett? We will find out this year, as his playing duties will increase. He has got the size and the talent and he had a decent year as a freshman but he needs to concentrate more on hanging on to the ball, he had a number of drops last year. Of the 5 incoming freshman receivers Vidal Hazelton is sure to shine provided he keeps his grades up. He too will test Carroll’s philosophy.

There is definitely some potential here to stay near the top in polls in the coming season. I don’t think they will go undefeated but I do think they will win the Pac-10. I am concerned about the first game against Arkansas. Coming off the Rose Bowl loss and team chemistry will be the challenge for the first game. Other games that concern me are Arizona on 9/23 and Cal on 11/18.

Tomorrow the Defense.

UPDATE 6/28/06: I'll work on the defense over the weekend

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top Coaches: Who would you pick?

So CFB News had this article on who would be the to 50 coaches to hire. It seems that there is a little controversy on who and where on the list they should be. Just like trying to rank who's the best conference, there are a number of factors that must be looked at.

Time with their current team
Wins and Losses
Bowl Appearances
Bowl Records

Traditional powers should be at the top of the list; they tend to play the tougher schedules, but not all of them. Having one good season is not enough and just because you’ve been around the coaching ranks for a while doesn't get you automatic high marks if you haven't won in while. It’s not enough that you head up a storied program that MAY get better that you should be on the list either, i.e. ND or UF, there is no reason that Charlie Weis or Urban Meyer should be ahead of Mack Brown or Jim Tressle, what has Weis won? Meyer is still working to implement his offensive scheme with the Gators and while he’s had some great success in the past, this is the SEC. The future looks bright at UF but Meyer has not been there long enough to make the full impact on his style of play. I actually think he will do a better job in his second year than Weis.

My top 5 in no particular order:

Pete Carroll
Mack Brown
Jim Tressel
Bob Stoops
Mark Richt
Honorable Mention: Tommy Tuberville

All these guys know how to win and recruit. All have a minimum 5-year record and all but Richt have a title under their belt.

Again, it’s tough and I am certainly no expert. What do you do with those tenured coaches who have a proven track record but who have been a little off of their game lately? Bowden, Paterno, Fulmer, Spurrier and Beamer. They certainly know how to win and can still get up for the big game but does their age hold them back? Do they still have the energy level that some of these young guns have? The recruiting schedules alone get you a lot of time on the road and over time that will take its toll. Again, I’m no expert so this just from the gut with a little homerism and a healthy dose of hating your rival, ND, thrown in.

UPDATE 6/28/06: I found this article on the website. I guess I wasn't too far off on my observation. Mandel has 4 out of 5 from my top five listed and my # 5 listed 6th. I guess even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.