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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for October, 2010

Five Things After Football Week No. 116-3

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

1. Ouch, That Hurts: After a 33-3 loss to Oakland, the Seahawks are still the leaders in NFC West clubhouse with a 4-3 record. But the outlook isn’t good. Here’s what Mike Sando of ESPN wrote about what he called “a compound fracture” defeat:

Chester Pitts, having just gutted out most of the game at left guard and left tackle in his return from career-threatening knee surgery, wore a tight wrap on his knee and was not bending it much, if at all, when he walked. Pitts had not played an NFL game in 404 days and he wasn’t supposed to play much in this one.

The man Pitts replaced early in the game at left guard, Ben Hamilton, wasn’t around after suffering a concussion. The man Pitts later replaced at left tackle, Tyler Polumbus, wore a massive walking boot on his injured ankle. The man Polumbus replaced, Russell Okung, wasn’t even active while recovering from a high-ankle sprain.

The man those offensive linemen protect, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, took eight sacks and suffered a head injury. The Seahawks canceled his usual postgame interview session as a precaution. Hasselbeck was in the locker room after the game, as usual, but the team determined he wasn’t quite right.

The Seahawks entered this game minus four injured starters and one of those starter’s replacements. Three more starters couldn’t finish the game after suffering injuries. Polumbus returned, but he was clearly hurting. Another starter, No. 1 receiver Mike Williams, returned at less than full strength after suffering a bruised knee.
2. 116-3. That’s what the Seahawks, Huskies and Cougars were outscored by this weekend. Will it be any better this coming weekend? The banged up Seahawks host the rested Giants, the Huskies take their 100th-ranked defense to Oregon to face the No. 1 Ducks and the most explosive offense in college football, and WSU, which bottomed out at ASU, tries to turn it around at home against California.

The Huskies looked lost and unprepared against Stanford. You’ve got to lay that one on coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff.

And if you think Sarkisian’s feeling the heat, image what it must feel like to be Paul Wulff these days? Of course, only WSU AD Bill Moos knows for sure how hot that seat is.

The Seahawks looked more like I thought they’d look like at the start of the season. Wonder if Tony Dungy still thinks the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC? The injuries will be tough to overcome. If Hasselbeck can’t play, we’ll get our first look at Charlie Whitehurst, and he’ll get his first chance to prove that he might be the heir apparent at quarterback.

3. One Spacey Dude: Athletes like San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson don’t come around very often.  Bill “Spaceman” Lee might be the only guy who’s in Wilson’s league. If you haven’t caught his act (or is it an act?), check out this radio interview with Jim Rome.

At one point Rome asked Wilson if there’s power in his black beard.

His answer: “You be the judge. It’s ranked third in the AP poll behind Boise State.”

When asked why it was now black after starting out Brown, Wilson said:  “Ask a chameleon why it changes colors. It adapts.”

Here’s the September TV interview with Rose on ESPN that grew Wilson’s legend.

As for Bill Lee, he once asked this about Fenway Park’s Green Monster: “Do they leave it there during the game?”

4. Sounders Ticket Flap: The Sounders came up short in their playoff opener, losing 1-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday. The fans, as always, were supportive – singing, chanting and cheering their Rave Green team on. But not all of those season-ticket holders were singing such a happy tune when they found out prices were going up for the 2011 season.

Port Orchard’s David Falk, a season-ticket holder who covers soccer for the Examiner, wrote about it in this post last week. His bottom line: the club has some explaining to do.

5. What Happened to NBA Enforcers?: Former Portland Trail Blazers’ star Maurice Lucas died Sunday after a long battle with bladder cancer. Lucas played in an era when tough, physical, bruising, smart players manned the power forward position in the NBA. Seattle had Lonnie Shelton (and Paul Silas). There was Kevin McHale,  Bob Hayes, Charles Barkley, Charles Oakley. They continued the tradition that was started by players like Dolph Schayes,  Bob Petitt, Jerry Lucas  and Dave DeBusschere. They’d back you down on offense, pound the boards and help protect the lane on defense. It seemed like every team had one. Some were just  rebounding/defensive specialists, like Kurt Rambis of the Lakers or Silas. Because of the way the game’s now played, the power forward as we once knew it is a dying breed. Dirk Nowitzki’s a small forward in a power forward’s body. Tim Duncan’s a center in a power forward’s body. As artistic as the game of basketball has become, I  miss the days when defense mattered. Really mattered. LeBron Jame wouldn’t have attacked the basket at will if  Maurice Lucas had been the last line of defense.


Huskies vs. Cardinal Game Thoughts

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

That’s all folks: Luck is watching from the sidelines, the score is now 41-0 and the Huskies aren’t going to be in the mood for any Halloween parties tonight. Stanford, meanwhile, looks like a team worthy of a BCS bowl. Washington, no doubt, will be talking about winning 3 of its final 4, which would make the Huskies bowl eligible.

Attendance: 69,020, but there’s probably only 30,000 left, if that.

Hall of Famers: South Kitsap grad Benji Olson, Eldridge Recasner and other memers of the UW’s 2010 Hall of Fame class were introduced between quarters.

End of 3rd Quarter: Luck hit Zach Ertz with a 3-yard TD pass on the final play of the quarter and it’s now 38-0. Did I mention that my feet are still wet?

Update: Stanford kicks a FG following a Locker interception. Stanford 31, UW 0. 7:12 left in third quarter.

Good sign: Washington’s returned for the second half. Hey, I’m just kidding. Here’s a couple telling statistics: Stanford has 318 total yards, Washington 35. Stanford’s converted 5-of-7 third down plays; Washington 1-of-7.

Bad Day for Cougs, Too: WSU’s not on televison this week, but the Cougars trail ASU 28-0 at halftime in Tempe.

Halftime, Stanford 28, UW 0: As I wrote in the pre-game portion of this blog, I thought Washington had to pound Chris Polk at Stanford in order to have a chance to win. They did it, for a play. On the first play of the game Polk rumbled up the middle for 10 yards. He ended the half with 8 carries for a net gain of 8 yards. Yep, one yard per carry. With Jake Locker’s net rushing total of minus 8 yards, the UW has a net of 0 rushing yards. That’s a problem because now the Huskies are down four touchdowns and they’ve got to throw the ball. Wonder what Sark and the offensive coaches are talking about right now?

Bye-Bye: Now, I’m not leaving, but I’m a little envious of the fans heading out of here. It’s not a mass exodus, but they can see the writing on the wall? Like I said before, you’d have to have to be insane to think the Huskies are going to find a way to get back in this one.

A Stop: After four straight possessions that ended with touchdowns, Stanford came away empty after missing a FG.

Luck Watch: If this is the first time you’ve seen Stanford’s Luck in action, better pay close attention. I don’t think he’ll be seeing much action in the second half.

The Beatdown Goes On: Stanford 28, UW 0. Last drive: 10 plays, 80 yards, 4:52. Still 8:38 left in the half.

Making It Look Easy: Stanford’s scoring drives haven’t taken long: 5 plays, 86 yards, 1:51; 6 plays, 42 yards, 2:38, 6 plays, 39 yards, 2:44.

Stanford 21, UW 0: Another short scoring drive capped by a Stepfan Taylor TD run. 14:54 left in half.

End 1st Qtr: Stanford 14, UW 0. But Stanford’s ready to punch in another score. Cardinal has the ball at the UW 3-yard line. Luck is 6 for 8 for 91 yards with a 51-yard TD run. Locker’s 2-3 for 8 yards and has been sacked twice.

Yikes! UW had to waste a timeout because it only had 10 men on the field while lining up to pout from its own 14. This just after Locker was sacked on third down. It hasn’t been pretty thus far for the Huskies.

Insane Thoughts: They held the Rally for Insanity earlier today, and it’s early at Husky Stadium, but is it too early too think that it’s already over? You’d need to be insane to think the Huskies can come back in this one, don’t you?

Update: 4:20 first quarter: Two UW possessions, two punts. Two Stanford possessions, two TDs. Stanford 14, UW 0.

Update, 8:37 left in first quarter: After the UW bogged down at midfield after making a couple of first downs, Stanford just went 86 yards in 5 plays. It took 1:51 and was capped by a 51-yard TD run by Luck, who faked to a back and took off around the left side. He was untouched. Stanford 7, UW 0.

How Bout Those Cuse?: Did you realize that Syracuse is 6-2 after beating Cincinnati 31-7 on Saturday. Washington’s win over the Cuse looks a lot better now. Hard to figure, huh? BYU, which handled Washington 23-17, is 3-5. Freshman QB Jake Heaps from Skyline has been thrown into the fire and the results haven’t been all that good. Heaps has completed 52.4 percent of his passes (120-229), and is averaging just 4.62 yards per completion. He’s thrown 2 TD passes and has been intercepted 7 times.

Good start: Polk goes up the gut for 10 yards. First down on first play.

Update 4:07 p.m.: Kickoff in a second. It’s 49 degrees with a light rain and the wind is blowing 2 mph out of the east.

Lone Washingtonian: David DeCastro, a 6-5, 310-pound junior guard from Belleve, is the only state player on the Stanford roster. Boy, could the Huskies use him.

Update 4 p.m.: It’s Halloween Eve. I wonder if any of the Huskies are going to dress up as Steve Emtman, Rick Redman, Corey Dillon,  or Benji Olson? They’re going to need football players of that ilk to hang with the Cardinal today.

Pre-game: It’s 35 minutes from kickoff. I’ve been up in the press box about an hour now and my feet are still wet.

It’s that kind of day. Wet and dreary. The fans, and I can’t blame them, don’t seem to be in a hurry to get out in the elements. When this one ends, there’s gonna be some c-c-c-cold, shivery, teeth-chattering fans filing out of here.

Will the Husky fans be celebrating?

Will the up-and-down Dawgs continue their lose-win-lose-win-lose[win-lose season with a win?

Will Washington’s Jake Locker win the duel of high-profile quarterbacks, or  will Stanford’s Andrew Luck, now the consensus top quarterback in the country, add to his legend?

Will Steve Sarkisian’s Huskies get their faces bloodied by the physical Cardinal?

Will Sarkisian have the discipline to stick with a ground-oriented attack? I think the best way to beat Stanford is to pound Chris Polk at the Cardinal defense all game long. I think he needs to carry the ball 30 times today.

I’ll offer some thoughts an observations once the game starts.


Is Husky Hall of Famer Benji Olson Kitsap’s All-Time Best Football Player?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Benji Olson’s going to be inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame tonight at 7 p.m. at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

The former South Kitsap star and UW All-American played nine years with the Tennessee Titans. The offensive lineman is regarded by many as the best football player to come out of the area.  Of course, fans of Bryan Hinkle (the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker from Central Kitsap), Harland Savre (a linebacker from North Kitsap who played for the LA Rams and NY Giants and later was head coach of the Rams and San Diego Chargers) and Don Heinrich (Bremerton/UW quarterback who played for the Giants, Cowboys and Raiders) might take exception to that. Who do you think is the best football player to come of here?

George Bayer (Bremerton/UW lineman who played with the Redskins before striking it big on the PGA Tour), Steve Okoniewski (NFL lineman from CK), Wayne Foster (WSU star from SK whose career was cut short by injury after playing in the CFL), Tony Boddie (Bremerton running back who wound up with the Broncos) are others to consider. I’m sure there’s others.

Let the arguments begin.


Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel Moving to Bremerton?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

You probably wonder why I’m writing about Gibbard, the Bremertonian rocker who is the frontman for Death Cab for Cutie, and his L.A. squeeze. Ah, make that wife. OK, I admit, I don’t really know much about Zooey Deschanel except that she had a role in the movie Almost Famous.

But knowing I was going to be in Seattle on Saturday night and had the day off, I was searching the Seattle Weekly to check out the entertainment scene across the water and I came across this post by Chris Kornelis, a former staffer at The Sun.

Kornelis listed nine reasons why the above mentioned couple should move to Bremerton.  There’s references to LaPoblanta, Hi-Lo’s, the ferries, and the Kitsap Sun. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. And, yes, the headline is totally inaccurate.


It’s Official: It’s the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

A name change for what has been called Kitsap County’s Bremerton Athletic Roundtable has been in the works for a while, but it became official on Wednesday night.
Board members, of which I am a member, voted to change the name to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable. The non-profit club, which started as the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable in 1967, serves youth and amateur athletics in the region. The new name makes sense. The club serves the entire Kitsap area (and Belfair, too). It’s never been a Bremerton-only club, but that’s the perception of some folks.

The KAR is holding its first Halloween Pumpkin Bash, a costume party, on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Comfort Inn. Tickets are $10 and prizes ($300, $200, $100) will be awarded to those in the best sports-themed costumes. DJ Bob Winters will provide the music, and there will be a pumpkin pie eating contest and a silent auction.

If interested in buying tickets or volunteering in any capacity, call president Dusty Anchors (360-692-3994) or treasurer Bob Winters (360-473-8022). If you want to get involved in the club in any capacity, give ‘em a call. Or e-mail kitsapathleticroundtable@gmail.com. There’s also a Kitsap Athletic Roundtable Facebook page and a new Web page is in the works.

As noted above, I’m on the KAR board. But that’s not why I’m plugging the organization. This is a club that’s an asset to the community, donating $7,000-$10,000 on an annual basis to athletes, teams, schools etc. It serves a purpose, sponsoring the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, and the annual high school all-star baseball and softball games. The KAR is helping sponsor the Dec. 11 Hammerhead Wrestling Invitational at the Kitsap Pavilion.

General meetings will start up again on Nov. 17. The guest speaker (or speakers) and location of the dinner meeting will be announced shortly.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a costume to wear on Oct. 30, I made a few suggestions in this column that I wrote late last month.


Dawgs, Hawks Pretenders or Contenders?

Monday, October 18th, 2010

What a difference a week makes.

That’s not a misprint in the NFL standings you’re looking at today. The Seattle Seahawks, 3-2 after beating the Bears, are tied for first-place in the NFC West with Arizona, which visits Qwest Field on Sunday.

And, yes, the Pac-1o standings are also correct. Washington (3-3, 2-1 Pac-10) is tied for second in the conference heading into Saturday’s showdown in the desert against No. 15 Arizona (5-1, 2-1).

So where do they go from here. I can’t figure either team out. I don’t think I’ve predicted the right outcome for a Huskies game all season, but this seems to be the season where anything can happen. Ask Alabama or Ohio State?

And just when you think Matt Hasselbeck can’t play anymore, the veteran QB proves you wrong. Maybe Marshawn Lynch is the real deal? He made a nice first-game impression. Combined with the elusive Justin Forsett, Lynch gives Seattle a nice combination in the backfield. Maybe all of Pete Carroll’s moves are going to pay off? The win over the Bears shouldn’t be overlooked. Mike Sando of ESPN.com called it a signature win for the Hawks, and I’m inclined to agree.

And what about the Dawgs? Can they beat another ranked opponent, this time on the road? Maybe the breaks are going to start going Washington’s way? Arizona QB Nick Foles, one of the Pac-10′s best, will miss this week’s game with a knee injury. Suddenly, the Wildcats look vulnerable. They’re coming off a 24-7 win over Washington State.

Washington’s first 20 minutes against Oregon State were awfully impressive. Problem is the Huskies weren’t able to sustain it, which has been their story for about six years now. So it’s still too early to go out on the limb and predict a bowl bid for the Huskies. Or is it? Check out Ted Miller’s Pac-10 bowl projections at ESPN.com.

Another night game for UW: Washington will play its fourth straight night game this coming Saturday in Tucson against Arizona. Kickoff is 7:15 p.m. and it’ll be televised on ESPN. The kickoff for the Oct. 30 home game against Stanford and the Nov. 6 game in Eugene against No. 1 Oregon have not been announced. Washington and UCLA will play under the lights in Seattle on Nov. 18. That one kicks off at 5 p.m.

Play it again: If you missed Washington’s thrilling 35-34 double-overtime win over Oregon State, you can catch it tonight (Monday, Oct. 18) at 11 p.m. on ESPNU (Comcast Ch. 400 That is channel 400 on Comcast, or 621 in HD.)

Kearsed: Washington was (Jermaine) Kearsed on Saturday, and it was a good thing. After dropping three passes the week before, the receiver from Lakes rebounded to catch nine passes for 146 yards and a school-record four TDs, two in overtime, against OSU. Check out this story on on the gohuskies.com site.

Okung More than OK: You had to like Sunday’s performance by Seattle rookie Russell Okung. The left tackle more than held his own against Chicago’s Julius Peppers. It’s nice to see the No. 1 pick live up to the hype. If he’s as good as I think he might be, then Matt Hasselbeck just might make it throught the season afterall. My preseason prediction had Charlie Whitehurst taking snaps by Week 8.

KITSAP HITS

Rodeo: The PRCA Xtreme Bulls event held at Thunderbird Stadium in August was broadcast Sunday on ESPN. Olympic bobsledder Bree Schaaf, wearing her cowboy hat, got some air time, and there were some nice plugs for the region and area’s military installations. It’ll be televised again on Sunday, Nov. 7 (1 p.m., ESPN Classic) and Tuesday, Nov. 9 (11:30 p.m., EPSN2).

Update: Someone recently asked about former Central Kitsap soccer standout Hannah Anderson and Olympic High football player Larry Dixon. Anderson signed a letter of intent to play at Oregon State, but decided not to go and is attending classes at Olympic College. Dixon’s attending the West Point Prep School, a requirement for incoming recruits. He’s been tearing it up on the football field, playing against community colleges and four-year college junior varsity teams in the area. West Point Prep is 6-1 and Dixon’s the leading rusher.


Eric Wedge New Mariners Manager

Friday, October 15th, 2010

SI.com reported today that the Seattle Mariners new manager will be Eric Wedge.

Wedge, who will turn 43 in  January, managed the Cleveland Indians for seven seasons, from 2003-2009, and was out of baseball in 2010.

You can learn more about Wedge in this post by Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune, who was taking a look at the M’s managerial candidates earlier in the week.

The official announcement likely won’t be made until next week, reported Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.

What do you think of the hire?


Dick Burleson’s Memorial Service Is Saturday

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

League League baseball is mourning the loss of Dick Burleson, who died last Saturday. Here is his obituary.

Burleson, a longtime umpire who volunteered for years with the South Kitsap Western Little League, will be remembered at a service this Saturday (Oct. 16) at 1 p.m. at Crossroad Neighborhood Church (7555 Old Military Rd NE, Bremerton). Donations in his name can be made to Mabel has asked that donations be made to:
South Kitsap Western Little League
P.O. Box 32
Port Orchard, WA 98366

Joe Winniford, a local umpire who counted Burleson among his mentors, has asked umpires to wear their uniforms to the service. In an e-mail, Winniford wrote:

Dick was the Washington District 2 Chief Umpire for many years and one of my mentors along the way.  While I took over his District position when he decided that the time was right, I never attempted to replace him.  …  I learned a tremendous amount from Dick about umpiring, Little League, and more importantly life and service to our community.  Dick was a long supporter of not only District 2 but also South Kitsap Western Little League.  Dick will be missed greatly but remembered well by those of us who knew him as we strive to measure up to the high bar he set.


Thursday Links: Is Valentine the Right Guy for M’s?

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Mariners manager: Bobby Valentine appears to have emerged as the leading candidate to be the next manager of the Mariners. Ryan Divish of the News Tribune gives you a pretty good look at Valentine. He also reports the Peter Gammons reportedly tweeted earlier this year that Ichiro would prefer Valentine as a  manager. News Tribune columnist John McGrath wrote back in September that the M’s should hire Valentine.

While working for CBS Sportsline in 2000, I covered the Subway World Series. Valentine managed the Mets and what impressed me about him was his fire. You could tell that he didn’t like to lose. At the time, I remembered thinking how did he get this team to the World Series. The pitching was solid, Mike Piazza was a dangerous hitter, but do you remember the Mets’ outfield? The starters were Benny Agbayani, Timo Perez and Jay Payton. So it’s not like you have to give him a veteran team to succeed. Maybe he is the right guy for the M’s at this time?  He’s regarded as a pretty good game strategist, and he’s been able to ignite the fan base at other stops and, we know M’s fans need something to get excited about.

Big Board: UW quarterback Jake Locker started the season No. 1 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board, which rates the top prospects for the 2011 NFL draft. Kiper’s now got Locker at No. 7. Stanford QB Andrew Luck is No. 1 on the board.

Seahawks Hit the (ugh!) Road: Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes: “For a team with Seattle’s baggage of road losses, this amounts to a two-month gauntlet as Seattle plays only two homes in the 61 days following their Week 3 victory over San Diego. Seattle is 2-2 because of a potent combination of defense and decibels. The Seahawks have forced seven turnovers in two home victories.” Read the entire story here.

Oregon vs. Boise State for national title? Could it, maybe … wouldn’t that be something. Boise State came out No.  1 in a mock BCS poll, ahead of the Ducks. Oregon and Boise State are 2-3 in the latest polls. Boise State beat Oregon the last two years. Don’t know about you, but that’s a game I’d like to see again. Forget the SEC, the Big 12, the Big 10. Here’s an AP story that takes a look at college football at the halfway mark. Here’s The Sporting News’ midseason report.


Live From Husky Stadium: ASU vs. UW

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

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