Friday links (Army’s Larry Dixon featured in Wall Street Journal), opinions and a book plug

College Football’s Most Pummeled Man: According to this story in the Wall Street Journal, it’s Larry Dixon, the Olympic High grad and starting fullback for Army. Army takes on Navy Saturday (12 p.m., CBS) jn Philadelphia.

A review of every Army offensive play in 2012 shows that Dixon has gotten a fake handoff 190 times this season. The cadet has been tackled without the ball 95 times, compared with the 129 times he has been wrestled to the ground with the pigskin.

In five of the 10 games he’s played this season, he has been tackled more often without the ball than with it. “Those are long days,” Dixon said.

Army-Navy series: Navy leads the series 56-49-7. Navy won 27-21 last year and has won 10 straight over Army.

UFC is coming to Seattle Saturday night. As big as the MMA scene has become, I’m still a boxing guy. I’ll be more interested Pacquiao-Marquez IV. Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez mix it up on Saturday in Las Vegas. Pacquio is 2-0-1 against Marquez. Pacquio is 35 now, and this probably won’t be an epic fight, but it’s the best boxing has to offer these days and I still find it more intriguing than the MMA event that will be televised by FOX from KeyArena. The main event matches Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz.

Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports writes about Russell Wilson’s obsession with film study.  Do you suppose the rookie quarterback’s agent is negotiating with Russell Athletic for an endorsement contract? Maybe Wilson Sporting Goods?

More on Wilson: If the Seahawks didn’t pick Wilson with their third-round pick, he likely would have ended up as a backup to Michael Vick, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, writes Adam Schefter of

Just wondering: If RGIII is so good, why hasn’t anybody signed RGI and RGII?

Not only have I not missed the NHL at all, but it just dawned on me that I’m not paying much attention to the NBA either. I try to keep track of Bremerton’s Marvin Williams and how he’s doing with the Utah Jazz, but that’ s about it. That said, I will be watching when the playoff arrive. And when Seattle gets another team — and it will — I will get to my share of the games. The NBA, of all sports, is the best sport to watch in person, especially if you’re fortunate enough to have a seat close to the court. Unless, of course, you’re going to a San Antonio Spurs game and coach Gregg Popovich decides to rest his stars.

West Coast League president Ken Wilson, who broadcast 70-plus Mariners’ game the last two seasons, visited Bremerton this week and talked to  the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable. He was Dave Niehaus’ original partner in Seattle, and went on to have a pretty impressive and interesting career as an MLB and NHL announcer. He called Pete Rose’s 4192nd hit that broke Ty Cobb’s all time record. He’s called three perfect games (Kenny Rogers, Rangers, 1994; Phillip Humber, White Sox, 2012; and, Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 2012). He worked the games when George Brett got his 3,000th hit and Gaylord Perry won his 300th game. He was in Baltimore when Cal Ripken tied Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played.

Greg Johns of writes about the Mariners’ possible pursuit of free-agent outfielders Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. I think the M’s ought to zero in on Swisher. He’s hit 20-plus homers for eight straight years and seems like a good fit for any clubhouse. Forget about Josh Hamilton. Swisher’s 32 and he can be the M’s starter in left field for the next five years. Bourn makes sense, too, because he can run and the M’s need a legit stolen base threat, but he’s 29 so he’s already peaked as a base stealer. His best years might be behind him.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune (you can read his stuff in our print editions from time to time) writes about Mike Gastineau, who signed off from KJR radio after 21 years.

Prediction: Seattle 27, Cardinals 10. Arizona’s defense is nasty, but the offense is a mess. Kent Somers of USA Today writes:

“John Skelton returns to quarterback the Cards. Skelton takes over for Ryan Lindley, who took over for Skelton, who took over for Kevin Kolb, who took over for Skelton, who was injured in the season opener against Seattle. … The Cardinals’ quarterback position is not a carousel, it’s spinning like a centrifuge.”

Finally, the book plug: Some of you know of Tom Kelly. I met him when he was a sports writer with the Seattle Times. He now writes a Homes column that runs in The Kitsap Sun’s advertising section. He’s also written a new book which might be a good holiday present. It’s called Cold Crossover, and the Bremerton ferry run is an important part of the book.

He’s offering Sun readers a free Kindle downlead of the book. Look for it at the bottom of his column on Monday, Dec. 10, and Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Here’s Kelly’s capsule of the book:

Linnbert “Cheese” Oliver, hard-luck high school basketball hero in the Northwest town of North Fork, is missing on a late-night Bremerton ferry. And for real estate agent Ernie Creekmore, his father figure, friend and former coach, the news hits hard. Ernie’s suffered too much loss and pain in his life — his wife, a state basketball championship, a mysterious medical malady — and he just can’t accept the idea that Cheese might have taken his own life. Working with sheriff’s detective Harvey Johnston, Ernie uses his contacts in real estate and hoops to trace Cheese’s movements. Meanwhile, hints at possible foul play turn up in pieces of North Fork’s rough-and-tumble history in fishing, logging and railroading, and the past and the present violently collide in a series of heart-stopping moments that peel back layers of greed, secrets and twisted family ties that refuse to stay buried.

Have a good weekend.

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