Sports Outside the Beltway

Oregon fires Coach Ernie Kent

He twice led the Ducks to the elite eight. From AP-

Ernie Kent, the winningest coach in Oregon history, was dismissed Tuesday after 13 seasons with his alma mater.

“You may find a better basketball coach, but I don’t think you’ll find anybody that has the passion and love that I have for this university,” said Kent, who had to pause for several moments to fight back his emotions.

Oregon went 16-16 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10 this past season, finishing with a 90-74 quarterfinal loss to California in the conference tournament.

Kent, 55, leaves Oregon with a 235-173 overall record.

Oregon had two poor seasons in a row but Kent had made the Ducks into a respectable program. The firing is tough luck for him, but I think Kent will find another head coaching job soon.Ernie Kent


Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli charged with one count of burglary

He is accused of stealing two laptop computers and a guitar. From ESPN-

Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who helped lead the Ducks to the Pac-10 Conference title and a Rose Bowl berth last season, faces a burglary charge in connection with a theft at a campus fraternity house in late January.Jeremiah Masoli

The Lane Country district attorney’s office says Masoli and former Oregon receiver Garrett Embry were each charged Wednesday with one count of burglary in the second degree.

Masoli and Embry were scheduled to be arraigned in Lane County Circuit Court on Friday afternoon.


A fraternity member reported that Masoli and Embry stole two computers and a guitar from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on Jan. 25.

Police were tight-lipped about the alleged theft, claiming it was under investigation.

Embry has been dismissed from the program for volating rules not related to the burglary.

Since playing in the Rose Bowl, Oregon has been hit by scandal after scandal. Players have been in a brawl, been accused of sexual assault, and more. I’m not going to pass judgment on these people, but will say if Oregon Duck coach Chip Kelly could find his job in jeopardy, Rose Bowl or no Rose Bowl, because of his out of control players. Oregon is a state school and University officials are accountable to the citizens of the state.


NCAA denies Oregon State Quarterback’s appeal for sixth year of eligibility

So one play equals a full season? From the Corvallis Gazette-Times-

Former Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao’s appeal for a sixth year of eligibility was denied by the NCAA on Thursday.

Moevao missed all but one pass play last season, and some of his junior year, due to shoulder and ankle injuries.

He hoped for a sixth year because he lost so much time, but it was a long shot.

“It’s disappointing for the most part in the final decison,” Moeavo said. “At the same time I have to go on and figure out what I’m going to do in my future.”

Sixth years are rarely granted. Athletes must miss two full seasons out of the possible five to circumstances they can’t control. The intent of the rule is to give them an opportunity to play four seasons.

Moevao was healthy for almost four seasons, and had the opportunity to play during four of his five seasons. That was the reason the NCAA cited for denial.

Before coming to OSU, Moevao played one year of Community College ball.

I shake my head at many NCAA rulings including this one. Hard and set rules can hurt innocent individuals and this is just one such case where the use common sense would have been a wiser choice. How many cases are there of players wanting a 6th year?


Oregon RB LaMichael James arrested on domestic violence charges

He rushed for over 1,500 yards last season. From ESPN-

Oregon running back LaMichael James, one of the top freshmen in the nation, was arrested on domestic violence charges after his girlfriend said he grabbed her neck during an argument and pushed her to the ground.

James, 20, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of menacing, strangulation and assault. He remained in the Lane County Jail on $40,000 bail, according to a jail deputy. His attorney, Michael Buseman, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Springfield police Sgt. Tom Borchers said the incident happened Monday evening outside a Springfield apartment complex. The 22-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, contacted authorities the following day and police located James in Eugene late Tuesday.

With the exception of self defense, there is no excuse for violence against a woman. If the charges are true, James needs to be disciplined. Including possibly kicking him off the Ducks football squad.


Lane Kiffin leaves Tennessee to coach USC

He replaces Pete Carroll who just left for the NFL. From ESPN-

Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin has been named the next head coach at Southern California, athletic director Mike Garrett announced on Tuesday.

Kiffin would replace Pete Carroll, who jumped to the NFL as coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

“We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” Garrett said in a statement. “I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I’m confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.”

The hiring was first reported by’s Chris Low.

Kiffin, the former Oakland Raiders coach, led the Volunteers for only one season.

Kiffin has been on the move of late. He was 7-5 in his one season at Tennessee and 5-15 in one-plus seasons with the Raiders before being fired in September 2008.

How do Tennessee officials, boosters, and fans feel about Kiffin leaving? I bet they aren’t too pleased and I don’t blame them. They hired him to build the Volunteers, not bolt for another school after just one year.


Oregon Ducks reinstate RB LeGarrette Blount

He had been suspended since punching out a Boise State player and brandishing a chair at a spectator on September 3rd. From AP-

Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount, who was suspended for the season after punching a Boise State player in the wake of the season opener, has been allowed to rejoin the Ducks.

The university requested Blount’s reinstatement, which was approved by Pacific-10 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott on Monday.

Blount will be able to play for the Ducks (No. 13 BCS, No. 14 AP) on Saturday night when they host Arizona State. He missed eight games.

Blount issued a statement saying he was grateful to Oregon coach Chip Kelly for giving him a second chance.

“Now it is up to me to prove to people that their lasting impressions of me are not what they saw in Boise,” he said.

Blount punched Byron Hout following the nationally televised opener, bringing the Broncos’ defensive end to his knees. The next day he was suspended for the season by Kelly, but he was allowed to keep his scholarship and practice with the team.

Oregon made the right decision. Give Blount another chance for he did apologize, but warn him that any similar incidents will lead to his being kicked off the football squad.


Sucker punch- Pac 10 to review aftermath of Oregon-Boise St. game

The game was decided 19-8 on the field in favor of the Broncos. What happened after the game is gaining the most attention

The Pac-10 later Friday will review tape of Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount’s dropping Boise State linebacker Byron Hout with a postgame punch to the jaw to determine whether Blount will be disciplined, spokesman Jim Muldoon said.

Immediately following Oregon’s 19-8 loss at Boise State on Thursday night, an ESPN replay of the incident showed Hout taunting Blount as the teams converged onto the field. As a Broncos assistant coach moved to separate Hout from Blount, the Oregon senior threw a right cross that connected with Hout’s right jaw. Hout went down and popped right back up.

First-year Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is flying in from Boise, where he witnessed the incident first-hand. While Muldoon said Oregon could take action, he believes the ultimate punishment to be a conference matter.

Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti said after the game he would consult with the Pac-10 office before taking any disciplinary action.

Here’s the video of the incident and an interview of Blount.

Blount was provoked, so his behavior is somewhat understandable. What could cause his biggest problem is what happened as Blount was escorted from the field.

Boise State replayed Blount slugging Hout several times on the giant screen in the north end zone of Bronco Stadium. Amid jeers from the crowd, Blount, who was being escorted from the field by Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost, got into another confrontation with fans.

His sucker-punch at the end of Thursday’s loss at Boise State will sink out-of-shape Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount’s chances of an NFL career, Todd McShay writes. Blog Insider

According to Blount, one fan brandished a chair at him and another punched him. Two police officers and Frost nearly carried Blount to the Boise State athletic building, where the visiting team dresses.

Getting into fisticuffs with fans might be the real reason Blount gets punished in the Pac-10 takes any action at all and I’m betting they do. One pro scout thinks this will doom any chance of Blount being selected in the NFL draft. If the guy has legitimate 2nd or 3rd round talent, that seems to be an overreaction. Feel free to share your own opinions.

Update- Oregon has suspended Blount for the rest of the season.

College football season is under way. There was however one blogger who failed to get the memo.

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NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #13 – Carolina Panthers – RB Jonathan Stewart

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Carolina Panthers are on the clock.

But they’re wasting no time: They took RB Jonathan Stewart of Oregon.

(5’10″, 235, 4.48) | OREGON

Strengths: Is a compactly built back with excellent body control. Shifty and quick; he runs low to the ground and has good change-of-direction skills. Shows very good initial quickness and also displays a second-gear when he gets through the line of scrimmage. Has made significant strides in terms of vision and patience as a runner throughout his career. Displays reliable hands as a receiver. Gets up the field quickly after the catch and can be a huge weapon when he catches the ball on the run in space. Has size and strength to anchor (when in position) versus blitzing linebacker in pass pro. Displays excellent potential as a kick return specialist and was one of the nation’s best when allowed to spend time in that facet of the game.

Weaknesses: Durability is a big concern. Has battled injuries throughout his career. Always seems to be nicked. Has limited experience carrying the full load. He’s compactly built and strong, but he’s not a power back. He doesn’t look to initiate contact much and he will run out of bounds instead of lowering his shoulder for extra yards on occasion. He goes down a bit too easily at times, as well. Not overly physical as a blocker. Still has room to improve in terms of awareness as a pass blocker. Will take some poor angles and doesn’t always appear to be confident in his assignment.

Overall: Even as a freshman reserve in 2005, Stewart was able to make his mark, scoring nine touchdowns on just 72 touches as a runner, receiver and kickoff returner. Despite injuries, he played 13 games in 2006 and ran for 981 yards and 10 TDs. He also had 20 receptions for 144 yards and another score. In 2007, his first season as Oregon’s feature back, Stewart established new school single-season marks in rushing yards (1,722) and all-purpose yards (2,481), leading the Pac-10 in both categories. He finished his junior season with 13 total touchdowns, adding 145 receiving yards on 22 catches. In three seasons, he averaged 28.7 yards and scored two TDs on kickoff returns. Stewart has battled durability issues throughout his career, but he also has shown toughness playing through several injuries. If he can avoid the injury bug at the next level, Stewart has a chance to emerge as one of the premier playmakers at the running back position. He is a compact runner with an outstanding combination of quickness, vision, body control and open-field burst. He also brings versatility to the table with soft hands as a receiver and an outstanding collegiate resume returning kicks. Stewart should be one of the top-three running backs selected in the 2008 NFL draft  likely in the mid-to-late portion of the first round.

Scouts, Inc.:

Rick Gosselin: 17th

Mel Kiper: 21st

The numbers are all over the place because Stewart had an injury and is recovering. Presuming he’s healthy, though, this is a solid pick. He’s projected to be an awesome NFL running back.


Cal hires Ex-Stanford coach Mike Montgomery

Knowing how much Cal and Stanford like each other, this news can only be seen as a sign of the apocalypse.

BERKELEY, Calif. – California has turned to its biggest rival to find its new basketball coach, hiring former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery on Friday to replace the fired Ben Braun. Montgomery was to be officially introduced at a news conference on campus Saturday, the school said.

Montgomery, who spent 18 years with the Cardinal, has been out of coaching since August 2006 when he was let go after two seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. He has announced college games and been an assistant athletic director at Stanford while still collecting money from the final two years of his contract with Golden State.

Braun was fired last week after 12 seasons as coach when the Bears missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. Montgomery made the tournament his final 10 years at Stanford, winning at least one game each time.

Whether Montgomery could continue that streak at Cal would depend heavily on the decision leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Anderson makes about the NBA draft. Anderson said Thursday he would test the waters by declaring, but would not sign with an agent to leave the option open of returning to school for his junior year.

I never thought it was fair to judge a college coach till he is able to bring in his own recruits.

Montgomery was successful at Stanford, including a final four appearance 10 years ago. Because of that and his over 500 career lifetime wins, I see Montgomery having a reasonable chance at doing well at Cal. I just wonder what diehard Bear fans think about having a former Stanford Cardinal in their midst. Guess it won’t matter if Cal basketball gets invited to the NCAA tournament consistently under Montgomery.


Lopez twins both turning pro

This news comes days after Stanford was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

The Lopez twins are going pro together. Stanford sophomore Robin Lopez is joining his 7-foot brother Brook in entering the NBA draft. The brothers made their announcement to The Associated Press on Monday through their mother, Deborah Ledford.

It was expected that Brook would declare himself eligible for the NBA, but Robin was not so certain. They were prep stars in Fresno, Calif., and came to Stanford together. Now they will depart as a tandem, too.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me because I really enjoyed my two years at Stanford,” Robin Lopez said in a statement released to the AP. “I have always hoped I would have an opportunity to play in the NBA and I feel now is the right time to make that dream a reality.”

Brook Lopez, a third-team All-American and a first-team Pac-10 selection, averaged 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds to go with 56 blocks this season. He scored the game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds left in an 82-81 victory over Marquette in the second round of the NCAA tournament to put Stanford in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.

Both Brook and Robin will hire agents and thus forgo their remaining two years of college eligibility, their mom said.

Since I rarely follow basketball(Pro or college) I am clueless as to the chances the Lopez brothers have of sticking in the NBA. To be honest, I would stay in college. Especially since its Stanford.

There has been a history of twins, identical and non-identical in professional sports. Hardcore golf fans will know golf Hall of Famer Curtis Strange has an identical twin brother Allen. In the NHL right now there are the identical Sedin brothers, Daniel and Henrik who play for the Vancouver Canucks. In baseball there were the Canseco brothers and the O’brien brothers.

If Robin Lopez can’t make it in the NBA, he can always caddy for Michelle Wie. SI reported recently that the two of them are dating.(Hat tip- ROK Drop)


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