How vain it is to sit down to write when you haven't stood up to live?
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The Morning Sports Page checks in with Rashad Floyd (who? yeah, exactly), touching on controversial topics regarding Darron Thomas’ premature departure to the NFL (draft), Will Lyles and Chip Kelly’s character. Did Coach Kelly really give DT the boot from the roster?
Listen to condensed version above, or check out the whole interview here (including more on LMJ’s draft party)
When it comes to PR, nobody does it better than the University of Oregon football program. Think we are nothing but a gimmicky potent offense with luxury facilities, dime cheerleaders and cutting-edge uniforms? Wrong. We also know how to get it done in the digital world, hosting the most on-point recruiting website in the game: Oregon Gridiron.
This week, Oregon Gridiron released a video revealing what the team has been up to this spring. Say all you want about Oregon’s alleged drug culture—presented in the infamous ESPN the Magazine article—these Ducks are among the best prepared, and most conditioned in all of college football…year-after-year. They are (34-6) with three-consecutive conference championships under Chip Kelly for a reason. Oregon’sWin The Day culture is what we should actually be discussing, dissecting, analyzing—it starts in the spring, well before the season’s first kick takes flight.
Click the image above to direct you to the Oregon Gridiron spring video [It can’t be embedded on my blog—yes, we are that untouchable].
GoDucks & Cheers!
Updated NCAA Pac
12 11 College Baseball Standings (as of 4/30/12)
(Colorado discontinued its team in 1980 thanks to Title IX)
The website Oregon Authentic launched today, providing diehard Duck fans an opportunity to get their hands on authentic football gear. As much as I need (WANT) an Oregon helmet on my mantle at home, or an official game-worn jersey to ceremoniously position in a green n’ yellow Duck football shrine, this bidding war is bound reach outrageous financial heights. Proceeds funnel directly into the athletic program as a whole (not just the cash cow football squad). The price tag on LMJ’s ‘fighting ducks’ uni has been skyrocketing already on day-1, hitting
$335 early on, no wait, $515, oh sure, it’s at $595 now! If you’ve needed proof, yes, we love our Ducks that much.
(Here’s an FAQ section if you are confused about the auction process)
Most Wanted: The (in)famous #21 LaMichael James Kelly Green Fighting Ducks Jersey
The debate will never end about whether this was a hit or miss in the Nike-Oregon fashion department, however the significance of this jersey is unarguably one of the more timeless pieces of memorabilia in the history Oregon football lore.
First, allow me to touch on the positive memories: Reflect back to October 6th, 2011 when LMJ torched the CAL Bears’ defense for 239 yards on the ground (8.0/carry) including a 53 yard got-the-edge scamper down the sideline for six on Oregon’s opening drive. Below, watch LMJ house it on his very first carry through the eyes of a fan’s POV:
LMJ went on to set a pair of school records on this day that may never be touched again (a’yo De’Anthony, I’m calling you out, young stud!)
You might also remember the rather infamous role this uniform played on the Ducks’ season. Early in the fourth quarter—with Oregon protecting a comfortable three-score lead—60 thousand+ hearts came to a standstill watching LMJ roll around the Autzen turf cringing in what looked like significant pain. The same pain he would later shed off like an arm tackle in the secondary (picture the @Tennessee run). The jumbotron footage of LMJ’s elbow instanteously sunk stomachs far-and-wide and brought the pulse in the entire city of Eugene to a deafening flat-line. Ironically, the two other times I’ve witnessed Autzen that noticeably jolted by a single play came both times against CAL (I won’t dive into the dreary details, I’ll just mention two names: Cam Colvin, Keith “no man’s land” Allen).
I recall getting a text via an insider source within the locker room when LMJ’s status was still very much in limbo—the rumor swirling from behind closed doors was absolutely devastating news. One player on the team declared LMJ ‘done’ plain and simple (WHY, OH, WHY did you do that to me?!) Remarkably—contrary to our deepest, darkest fears—shortly after I received that gut wrenching text, THIS happened and a legend was born…again:
‘I could tear all my ACL’s and still play’
Say what you want about the jersey design. Although I personally considered the creation leaning closer toward a bust than a fashion success, I firmly stand behind the concept that all press is good press (so long as it has nothing to do with a player’s rap sheet). Uniform buzz is not placed on a decorative platter for “expert” writers/columnists to chew on, they are tactically manufactured (and filtered through the media) to recruit for us—it’s about the 16, 17, 18 year old ballers still undecided on when/where to sign on the dotted line. By the way, all you grey beards are lightyears out of the loop when it comes to youngster “swag” nowadays, so stand down, sirs. While the majority preach “FAIL” one this one, I personally find this jersey to be even more epic than the Rose Bowl victory attire. The layered story behind the Fighting Ducks coinciding with LMJ’s tremendous toughness speaks volumes about one of Oregon’s most successful seasons in the history of the program.
Stormtroopers: Remember when we first debuted this look? Jonathan Stewart—in familiar, yet enemy territory—got loose on the road versus the filthy Huskies, running unconsciously for an easy 250+. I was there—the streets of Seattle were barren that night. Drinks on me for everybody!
The Ducks kept the successful Stormtrooper tradition alive with an enormous victory on the road at USC in 2010. Enter: wing blades, exit: whatever the hell you want to call those funky grid-shaped reflective shoulder patches.
Stew doing work.
Tall Firs throwback:
I picture Akili ✈✈✈✈airmailing✈✈✈✈ it deep downfield to Hartley
Whatchu know ‘bout matte black, son?
Remember Reggie Bush’s tweet about the release of these matte black helmets? Nike: always one step ahead of the game. Reebok, Adidas—you there? …Didn’t think so.
You can even purchase the entire football uniform set the Ducks rocked vs. LSU in last year’s season opener. Yeah, I know, rough loss, but this combo still ranks VERY high on my short list of the dopest uniforms in the history of the game. So clean. I’d vote to bring these back for a chance at redemption in a heartbeat.
Last, but not least, a few “support our troops” Oregon spring game joints:
Time to break the bank Duck fans—best of luck to all you
rich bastards lovable lucky Ducks!
My nerves were officially on edge in the 7th inning. To the disapproval of my superstitious conscience, I tweeted about the no-hitter in progress. All I could think about soon after was how I just potentially jinxed the poor kid. There is no apple+Z in the twitterverse, no undo button to retract a statement gone public. He’d have to override my social media hex by himself.
Taking on the Portland Pilots at Volcano Stadium (in Keizer, OR) last night, the #8-ranked Oregon Ducks’ freshman pitcher Jordan Spencer from Beaverton, OR was making just his third start of the season. As he made his way out to the mound for the bottom of the 9th, I heard the stat geeks—working for the team—in front of me chirping about his rising pitch count. It was at 97 with three outs left. His arm wasn’t going to solely carry him at this point, poise and adrenaline would have to serve up the knockout punch.
I swiftly googled his high school statistics—how have I not heard about this young stud? The answer—he wasn’t recruited as a pitcher. Sure, why not, throw a no-hitter then why don’t you. Evolving to better suit the team…that’s what team is all about, right?
Fastball, change-up, fastball change-up. Location, change of speed, location. It was a masterful showcase. He was fierce, he worked quickly, masking the bulk of his scowling face with his glove as he triggered his windup.
With two outs, the entire stadium rose to their feet. All 1,158 of us. I wish it had been a capacity crowd, but yet again, I’m glad it wasn’t. I had been sitting directly behind home plate, a few rows in front of a television camera capturing the moment.
The camera guy didn’t seem to care that I was partially blocking his view, almost as if he too were saying screw it, let’s all just enjoy this. He stepped away from behind the camera to watch right along with the rest of us. Even Pilots fans donning their Husky-esque purple garb rose to their feet, not necessarily to root on the opposition, but as a sign of respect for the moment. It’s an American pastime thing. While Duck fans clasped their hands in sports prayer, those in purple stood cross-armed ready to watch their team enter the wrong side of history (like it or not).
When the final out was smacked on a frozen rope to the second baseman, jubilation ensued as if the Ducks accomplished much more than simply taking care of business in an exhibition game versus an inferior opponent. It was a special feeling, a spectacle that has become a rarity in college *PING* baseball.
I felt like a little leaguer all over again. A no-hitter is something I had never witnessed in all my years watching/playing the sport. Thousands of games. I felt like I put a tally on my bucket list to rest.
It was a proud moment watching Spencer hop into the crowd, hugging friends and family (even strangers) as he dashed his way toward the press box for an unprecedented interview. He passed me in the concourse and I gave the 6-footer some daps as he galloped toward the dangling microphone. It was the first no-hitter he had ever thrown in his life, the first in school history since the program’s reinstatement. I snapped a photo as he spoke into a makeshift audio setup. It was the final action I was able to make before my smartphone died.
What a great evening. The Ducks got the win, I saw the first no-hitter in my entire life (perhaps the last one I’ll ever see), and I even managed to convert a Beaver into a Duck in the process. Three words sum this one up: Won the day.
Cheers & Go Ducks!
*top image via statesmanjournal*