Category Archives: Washington Huskies

UW 2-0, but what does it mean?

Played in the Keith Carden Memorial Handball Tournament today at the Bremerton YMCA, so I missed the UW-EWU football game.

Between matches, I followed updates on Twitter and the outcome didn’t really surprise me that much. I figured Eastern was the most dangerous of Washington’s first four opponents — Hawaii, Eastern, Illinois and Georgia State (in that order). The Eagles’ offense might be the best Washington faces all season. And, yes, I’m including Oregon.

Still, the 59-52 victory raises questions, just as Washington’s 17-16 win over Hawaii did the previous week. For the second week in a row, we’re left wondering if this team is any good. As I type this, Oregon State is leading Hawaii 38-14 in the fourth quarter. (Update: Hawaii came back to make a game out of it, losing 38-30).

The Huskies have got some serious work to do on defense, which is where they were supposed to be strong. Linebacker Shaq Thompson, who didn’t make much of an impact in Hawaii, defensive lineman Danny Shelton and cornerback Marcus Peters were all preseason Pac-12 first-team selections. Defensive end Hau’li Kikaha joined that trio on the Bronco Nagurksi Award list, which goes to the nation’s top defender.

Peters was hit with a 15-yard penalty for taunting that led to an Eastern Washington touchdown and 45-44 lead for the Eagles in the second half. UW coach Chris Petersen benched Peters for the rest of the game.

“That was easy,” Petersen told the media after the game. “I’m not into stupid penalties. That wasn’t even a decision (to bench Peters).”

Ten wins (my prediction) doesn’t look good right now, but college football is a funny, unpredictable animal. By Week 7, when Washington travels to Eugene to play Oregon, the Huskies might be a different team. Thompson did have 14 tackles and a sack against Eastern. He also had a 57-yard rushing TD. Shelton had 12 tackles, including four sacks, and Kikaha had six tackles and a sack. The secondary remains a work in progress.

Give Eastern credit, though. Coach Beau Baldwin, the former Curtis HS/Central Washington QB who seems ready to parlay his offensive wizardry into a Division I head-coaching job, might be coaching one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Vernon Adams, Jr. Adams torched the Huskies for 475 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Oregon must be licking its chops in anticipating of their Oct. 18 game against Washington in Eugene.

Hell, Illinois and Georgia State are probably drooling, too.

Illinois sophomore QB Wes Lunt passed for 3 TDs and 456 yards in a 42-34 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. He threw 4 TDs passes in a 28-17 win over Youngstown State the week before. Georgia State (1-1) lost to New Mexico State 34-31 after slipping past Abilene Christian 38-37 in a game where QB Nick Arbuckle passed for 4 TDs and 413 yards.

Sure, Washington put up 59 points and didn’t commit a turnover against Eastern. But Sam Houston State, which lost 56-0 to LSU on Saturday, scored 35 points against EWU the week before so you need to put things in perspective.

The Dawgs might be off to a 2-0 start, but even the biggest UW fan has to admit that it’s not the kind of start that gets you dreaming about big things down the road.

ALSO

Olympic High grad Larry Dixon got his senior year at Army off to a good start, carrying 20 times for a career-high 174 yards and 2 TDs in the Black Knight’s 47-39 win over Buffalo. Army is at Stanford next Saturday (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Bremerton’s Jim Wainwright and Loren Schaller of  Gig Harbor beat Port Townsend’s Chris Cardinal and Bremerton’s Jane Erlandsen in the finals of the Carden Memorial Tournament. Yours truly and Gil Mendoza, the deputy superintendent of schools in our state, won the consolation bracket after getting out butts kicked by Wainwright and Schaller in the first round.

A foursome that included Connor Robbins and Scott Sargent (sorry I missed the other two guys) shot 19-under in a scramble format at Gold Mountain’s Cascade Course on Friday during the Yacht Club Broiler’s tournament. The round included three eagles.

“Percy Harvin is so fast it looks like he’s playing in a video games compared to the other guys on the field.” — Evan Somerheiser of the Bremerton rock band Power, and a huge Seahawks’ fan

 

 

 

Kitsapers in the Pros & More

KITSAPERS IN THE PROS:

Jason Hammel, a 2000 South Kitsap grad, has struggle since being traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics. Hammel is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA with Oakland. He gave up three home runs in three-plus innings in a loss against Atlanta on Friday. He was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA with the Cubs.

South Kitsap grad Willie Bloomquist is done for the year after undergoing micro fracture surgery on his right knee. The Mariners utility player hit .278 in 47 games, playing seven different positions.

Drew Vettleson is hitting .230 with seven HRs and 23 RBI for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Vettleson, 23, an outfielder from Central Kitsap, has hit two HRs in his last six games but is only hitting .204 in his last 10 games. The left-handed hitting Vettleson is hitting .280 vs. lefties and .198 vs. righties. All seven of his HRs have come against right-handers.

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham, an outfielder, is hitting .255 with 0 HRs and 31 RBIs for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A club of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cunningham, 28, has hit .323 (10-for-31) with 5 RBI in his last 10 games.

Brady Steiger, a first baseman/third baseman, is hitting .167 for the Staten Island Yankees, a short Class A club in the New York-Penn League. The former South Kitsap and Lewis-Clark State star just returned from injury and has played in just two games since July 21.

SAYING ALL OF THE RIGHT THINGS:

Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle, following an elimination loss at the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, puts things in perspective for a bunch of kids. Great speech.

SPEAKING OF LITTLE LEAGUE:

How can you not pull for Mo’ne Davis? She’s the talk of the Little League World Series.

CONGRATULATIONS:

To the Bellingham Bells, who won the West Coast League championship on Monday night, winning the deciding game of the best-of-three series against the Corvallis Knights. Good buddy Jim Clem is the pitching coach of the Bells and we had the pleasure of hosting the team twice this summer on trips to Bremerton to play the Kitsap BlueJackets. Classy bunch.es

NOT SO CLASSY:

Johnny (Finger) Manziel threw as many obscene gestures as he did touchdown passes in Monday night’s exhibition game. Not a good sign for the Browns.

READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL:

Aug. 23: FCS No. 1 Eastern Washington vs. No. 17 Sam Houston State in college football’s season opener in Cheney. Kickoff 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Aug. 28: Washington State Cougars vs. Rutgers, in Seattle (CenturyLink), 7 p.m., FOX Sports. Thursday game is intriguing. Cougs looking to get off to a good start against Scarlet Knights, now a member of the Big Ten.

Aug. 30: Washington Huskies vs. Hawaii in Honolulu, 7:30 p.m., CBS. Chris Petersen era begins.

Sept. 4: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers. Thursday night game on NBC (5:30 p.m.) kicks off NFL season. Doesn’t get much better, does it?

Sept. 5: Friday Night Lights has a delicious opener. South Kitsap vs. Central Kitsap at Silverdale Stadium, 7 p.m. Biggest game in the county.

Sept. 5: WSU at Nevada, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. Nevada not what it used to be.

Sept. 6: Washington’s first home game under Chris Petersen vs. Eastern Washington at Husky Stadium, 1 p.m. Washington barely pulled one out, 30-27 over EWU in 2011 at Husky Stadium.

 

GOLF JOKE:

Mike, an avid golfer, was teeing up for a very difficult shot.

At that moment a funeral procession went by.

Mike stopped, stood still with his hat over his heart, and bowed his head.

His golfing partner looked at him and said, “Mike, that was kind and decent of you to show such respect for the dead.”

Mike replied, “Yes, we would have been married twenty-six years come tomorrow.”

Excited about UW softball

UPDATE: Washington 18, San Jose State 1 (5 innings). It was even more lopsided than the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory.

It’s already in the mid-80s and we’re going to take advantage of the sunshine today by taking in a Husky softball game. The Washington Huskies (6-0) are playing San Jose State (6-0) in a tournament game in Tempe this afternoon.

Washington’s an easy team to pull for. I’m helping out at Olympic College as a volunteer assistant and head coach Dan Haas, assistant Heather Jenkins and myself took in a practice last month in Seattle.UW coach Heather Tarr couldn’t have been more gracious. She wandered up in the stands to welcome us and explain what the Huskies were trying to accomplish that day and answered all of our questions. She later showed off the UW’s locker room and coaches’ offices below the stadium.

Being an old men’s fastpitch player, it was interesting to see how the Huskies practiced. It’s easy to see why the Dawgs have enjoyed so much success under Tarr and her staff, which includes husband J.T. D’Amico, Lance Glasoe and Brad Ditter, the former head baseball coach at Edmonds CC. There’s a purpose to everything they do.

Washington was 45-17 and finished third at the Women’s World Series a year ago, and they return all but one starter.

I’m excited about Olympic College softball, too. Danny Haas is doing a solid job recruiting and we’ve got some talented ladies. Our season starts March 1-2 at an NWAACC tournament in Richland. Stop by and catch one of our home games when we get going. I think you’ll be impressed by the level of play.

 

 

Super Bowl plans? Sherman rates NFL’s QBs & more

Made plans this week to go to Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend.

Now, if the Seahawks can only take care of business and make it to the big game. Here’s a guide to Super Bowl parties in Las Vegas. Got any recommendations on where I should I belly-up for the game? Where will you watch the game from?

SB prediction: My preseason prediction had the Seattle Seahawks beating the Houston Texans in East Rutherford, N.J. The Texans disintegrated after losing in overtime, 23-20, to the Seahawks in Week 4.

New Super Bowl prediction: Seahawks 27, Patriots 16.

Speaking of the Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady didn’t make Richard Sherman’s list of top-5 smartest quarterbacks in the NFL. In his MMQB column for SI.com, Sherman listed (in order): Peyton Manning, Drew Brews, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck.

More NFL predictions: If I was betting a three-team parlay this weekend in Vegas, I’d take the Chargers, Eagles and 49ers. If you wanted to make it a four-team parlay, throw in the Chiefs.

If I’m right, that also means that the Seahawks will face the 49ers on Saturday, Jan. 11, at CenturyLink. Seattle gets the lowest remaining seed and it’ll be the Packers (No. 4), 49ers (No. 5) or Saints (No. 6). A Niners-Seahawks rematch for the right to move on to the NFC Championship game could be better than the Super Bowl. These guys don’t like each other, and there’s a lot of similarities between the two NFC West rivals.

UPDATE: Of course, I meant to say I’d take the Chargers, Saints and 49ers for that three-team parley. And the Colts, not Chiefs, for the 4-teamer.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Seahawks favored by 8 points to beat the Saints. It was 5 1/2 the last time when Seattle won 34-7.

Some thoughts

Bainbridge’s Scott Orness keeps showing why he’s one of the best high school basketball coaches in the state. His Spartans, with just one senior, rebounded from a 16-1 deficit to give unbeaten and nationally-ranked Rainier Beach a pretty good battle on Friday.

I was surprised former Husky great Marques Tuiasosopo left Washington to become the tight ends coach at USC. He was offered the same position by new Husky coach Chris Petersen. It was later reported that Steve Sarkisian also gave Tuiasosopo the title of assistant head coach. Maybe there’s enough additional responsibility there to make it a no-brainer for Tui, but I think his decision caught a lot of Washington Husky fans off-guard. Getting Tui was a big get for Sark, and a loss for Petersen, who brought six assistants with him from Boise State and two more former Boise coaches who were at Florida.

The Kitsap Admirals are hosting the ABA All-Star game on Sunday (Jan. 5) at 3 p.m. at Olympic College. There will be a dunk contest and more. Could be a fun afternoon. Wonder if Dr. J,  George Gervin, David Thompson, and Artis Gilmore will show up?

I think the Seattle Mariners should sign Brady Sizemore to a minor-league contract. The Everett native has been out of baseball since 2011 because of a long list of injuries. But he’s only 31. He was arguably one of the top two or three center fielders in baseball from 2005-08, hitting .281 with 107 home runs and 115 stolen bases. Why not bring him in and let him compete against Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley, Abraham Almonte and oft-injured Franklin Gutierrez? Corey Hart and  Logan Morrison are listed as infielders on the 40-man roster, and will likely play some OF, 1B and DH.

 

Kitna’s gift; Edgar for HOF? Tanaka a good fit for Mariners? Knights ranked No. 9

Coolest story of the week: Lincoln High football coach and match teacher Jon Kitna, 41, signing with the Dallas Cowboys to be a backup quarterback. Wait, it gets better. It’s been reported that the Tacoma native is donating the $53,000 he earns this week to Lincoln High, his old school. His generosity probably doesn’t surprise those who know him. Kitna’s goal when he accepted the football job at Lincoln was to build “R.E.A.L. Men” who (R)eject passivity, (E)mpathize with others, (A)ccept responsibility and (L)ead courageously.

The case for and against Edgar Martinez when it comes to deciding if he’s a Hall of Famer or not. Since the DH has been part of the game for 30 years, it seems silly to me for voters to punish a player because he was a DH. And you can make a pretty good argument that Edgar’s the best DH in the history of the sport. What do you think?

Scott Weber of Looking Landing has some good thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka and why the Mariners would be better off spending big bucks to land the Japanese pitcher than on an outfielder like Nelson Cruz. You have to admit, a starting rotation of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tanaka, Taijuan Walker and Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton looks pretty good on paper.

And Fangraphs.com has come up with some projections for the 2014 Seattle Mariners.

Recommended reading: Michael Bramberger of Sports Illustrated wrote a  pretty thought-provoking column about Tiger Woods in November. It all revovled around former Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee writing a piece where he questioned Tiger for being “a little cavalier with the rules.”

Tickets for the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Jan. 25 are on sale. They cost $30, not $35 as I wrote in a previous post. Sorry about that.

Bremerton High has cracked the Seattle Times’ Class 2A boys basketball top-10 rankings. The Knights (6-0) are No. 9 this week. I watched the Knights beat Port Angeles before Christmas (look for my story on senior Deonti Dixon on Friday) and this could be a special season if they keep improving. Fundamentally, they’ve got a ways to go on defense, but their quickness makes up for a lot of that.  Keep your eye on these guys. The Associated Press state rankings should be out after the first of the year.

Steve Sarkisian talks about why he left Washington and about winning a national championship at USC.

Don’t know how I missed this one, but I’ve got to share it. You’re a mean one, Marshawn Lynch. This is Dave Ross’ musical tribute to the Seahawks’ running back.

Are you having a tough time getting excited about the Washington Huskies and the Fight Hunger Bowl? Me too.  With the coaching change and the Tosh Lupoi situation and the UW losing out on prize recruit Budda Baker, the bowl game itself seems pretty meaningless. It’ll be interesting to see how Marques Tuiasosopo does as an interim head coach — you can’t help but pull for that guy — and the possibility of a nine-win season, I guess, is a big deal. But the opponent, BYU, doesn’t do it for me. The UW and Cougars, now an independent,  have never met in a bowl game, but they’ve played eight times, six since 1996 (the series is tied 4-4) with BYU winning the last three, including a 23-17 victory the last time the met in 2010.

 

Thursday links: Lupoi, Seahawks & more

Linking it up on a Thursday morning:

Tosh Lupoi, the Washington Husky footbal assistant accused of violating NCAA rules, will stay on the UW staff for now.

Remember the Seahawks 58-0 blowout over the Cardinals on Dec. 9 of last year? Arizona returns to CenturyLink on Sunday with a chance to avenge that embarrassment as well as end Seattle’s 14-game home winning streak. This could be the Hawks toughest test at the Clink in a while. The Cardinals (9-5) are on a pretty good roll and playing much better than they did earlier this year with Seattle won 34-22 in Arizona. Coach Bruce Arians has created a new era in Arizona.

Byron Maxwell, who has three interceptions in his last two games, is just trying to take advantage of his opportunities. Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard said this to Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com: “I’m going to tell you something about Byron, he’s very humble, he’s diligent and I don’t think what’s happening to him could happen to a better person. He’s fantastic to be around, and he has been for years. So he’s kind just been sitting back in the wings and waiting for his turn. And here it is.”

 

Farnesworth also writes about Russell Wilson’s search for consistency.

“I think the No. 1 thing is, first of all, talking it – talking and believing it,” Wilson said. “When I say ‘ignore the noise,’ I really try to just block it all out. I believe in what I say, in terms of just trying to stay focused on the moment, trying to stay focused on the now.

In Joe Posnanski’s mind, before Jackie Robinson, graceful first baseman Buck Leonard was the right man to break the color line in baseball.

Posnanski compared Leonard to Lou Gehrig:

… They shared a certain aura as well as a style of play. Leonard readily admits he tried to copy Gehrig’s style when he became a professional — who better to copy? Gehrig hit with more power, surely, and Leonard was reportedly slicker defensively, but their similarities ran much deeper than their playing styles. They were both steady men without flash, without noticeable egos, with a driving consistency and certain quiet resolve that people around them could not help but admire. Everyone thought the world of Buck Leonard.

Michael Thomas’ story might be the best of the NFL season. A practice squad player with the 49ers, he was sleeping in late after the Niners beat the Seahawks a couple weeks ago and almost slept through a chance to become an active player with the Miami Dolphins. He woke up in time, signed a contract, flew to Miami and ended up making the game-saving interception in the end zone against the Patriots.

 

Kobe Bryant’s comeback didn’t last long.

Coach on Sark’s staff at UW under investigation

The Los Angeles Times reported that University of Washington assistant Tosh Lupoi is under investigation for possible violations regarding payment for online classes and tutoring for an incoming recruit. It might explain why Lupoi didn’t follow Steve Sarkisian to USC. Lupoi denies any wrongdoing and remains part of Washington’s staff as the Huskies prepare for the Dec. 27 Fight Hunger Bowl.

From the Times:

The allegations surround the recruitment of Andrew Basham, a former defensive lineman at Lynnwood High in Washington, who signed a letter of intent with the Huskies last February but did not qualify academically to enroll.

Mike Davis, a throwing coach who helped Basham win a state shotput title, told The Times that Tosh Lupoi, Washington’s defensive line coach, gave him $3,000 to cover private tutoring for Basham through a test preparation company. Davis said he also received $1,500 from Lupoi to reimburse Basham’s father for online classes Andrew could use to raise his grade-point average.

Also

New UW coach Chris Petersen announced that he would not travel with the team for the Fight Hunger Bowl. Marques Tuiasosopo was named the interim head coach when Sarkisian left for USC and he will remain in charge of the team. … Coachingsearch.com reported that Petersen has hired Brent Pease, his former offensive coordinator at Boise State, to be the Huskies’ OC. Pease was fired at Florida after two seasons with the Gators. He coached from 2006-2011 at Boise State, working with receivers the first five years.

 

Who should be UW’s next coach? Here’s some suggestions

Possible candidates to consider when thinking about whom the Washington Huskies will turn to after football coach Steve Sarkisian announced that he was leaving to take the job at USC:

Jim Mora, currently head man at UCLA. Was a walk-on at Washington and former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. While in Atlanta, he once made the mistake of saying in an on-air interview that Washington was his dream job. It ultimately cost him his job with the Falcons. Mora has done a masterful job turning UCLA into a potential powerhouse. He seems like a good fit at the UW. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that Mora is the perfect choice, but Jack Wang of the LA Daily News seems to think that Mora would only use the UW opening for leverage to get a better deal for himself and his assistants at UCLA. Here’s another view: If Mora bolts for Washington, it’ll be because of UCLA’s incompetent AD.

Gary Pinkel, currently the head coach at Missouri. The Don James-disciple and former UW assistant has the Tigers ranked No. 5 in the country and he’s been linked to the Washington job before. Pinkel, 61, would be a popular choice with Washington’s boosters who have been unable to distance themselves from the James years. Pinkel, however, has a pretty good thing going while competing in the SEC, the best conference in college football.

Chris Petersen, Boise State. Who wouldn’t want this guy? He’s 92-12 in eight seasons with the Broncos. Petersen’s been linked to a lot of jobs in the past, including the USC job. He reportedly withdrew his name from consideration over the weekend. Petersen’s not a high-profile guy, and Washington seems like a lot better fit than USC for the guy who has been one of the most sought-after coaches in college football in recent years. This is the first year during his tenure that the Broncos never cracked the top-25 rankings.

James Franklin, Vanderbilt. Franklin, 41, is one of the rising stars in college football.  He was also linked to the USC job for a while. Former Washington State grad assistant is a charismatic leader and recruiter. Don’t know if the Husky job would interest him. Vandy is 17-8 in his two years and 9-7 in the SEC.

Beau Baldwin, Eastern Washington. Doubtful he’s the right guy for Washington right now, but he seems to be on a path that will take him to a BCS school someday. He repeated as Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year.

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson. Third-year assistant at Clemson, a graduate of Texas A&M, has been linked to the Texas job if the Longhorns part ways with Mack Brown. At $1.3 million, he’s the nation’s highest-paid assistant. He was also named the American Football Coaches Association’s assistant coach of the year, by his peers.

Doug Nussmeier, offensive coordinator, Alabama. If Washington decided to go with a coach without head coaching experience, this guy might be at the top of the list. He was a former coordinator at Washington under Sarkisian for three years and is considered an excellent quarterback coach and one of the best offensive minds in the game. The Nussmeier bio, according to Wikipedia.

Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator, Washington. Another candidate without head-coashing experience, but he’s built a pretty good reputation during coaching stops at Boise State, Tennessee and Washington. Reportedly going to USC with Sarkisian, but Some wonder if he has the personality to deal with the boosters and media?

Tom Cable, offensive line coach, Seattle Seahawks. Snohomish native was head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2008 to 2010 and also served as head coach at Idaho. Timing’s bad as the Huskies need someone right now because of the recruiting game.

Whoever ends up coaching the Huskies won’t have a chance to coach against USC and Sarkisian until 2015. The Pac-12 schools didn’t play this year, and don’t play in 2014 either.

 

 

 

 

 

Dawgs, Cougs both headed in right direction

The Apple Cup is in the books, the Civil War is over and the 2-year-old granddaughter is finally in the rack after watching the Disney-movie Ratatouille.

It’s been an exhausting day. Here’s some quick thoughts and links:

Apple Cup: Seven is the ugliest number when it comes to the Huskies during the Steve Sarkisian era, and Washington’s win over Washington State means they can put that number to rest. The possibility of four straight 7-6 seasons has been avoided. The Huskies will take an 8-4 record into whatever bowl game they wind up in. Some are speculating the Dawgs could face BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27. If you’d have told serious Husky fans at the start of the season that their team was going to wind up in the Fight Hunger Bowl, they wouldn’t have been pleased. The expectations were higher than that, but losses to Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA brought the program back to earth. But a win in a bowl game and a 9-4 record will might make a lot of those fans forget about those lofty preseason expectations.

Washington State’s 6-6, and likely headed to a bowl (although there’s no guarantee). The Cougars probably exceeded most expectations, if not in the number of victories, certainly in how the program is now perceived. In two years, Mike Leach has the Cougar faithful believing because he’s got his players believing. WSU went to Auburn for its season opener and nearly beat the team that is ranked No. 4 in the country. The Cougs won three Pac-12 games on the road, and for a half, they out-played the Huskies. This year’s Apple Cup was decided by three or four plays.

Compared to the bad times that these programs have been through in the last 10 years or so, I suppose we should feel pretty good that the Huskies and Cougars are headed in the right direction. At least the programs matter. There were times when you couldn’t say that.

Civil War: Oregon State’s Victor Bolden scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 25-yard run with 1:38 left. They scored too fast. I knew it, you knew it, we all knew it. Oregon marched down the field and scored with 29 seconds left for a 36-35 victory. Bolden should have fallen down at the 10 and the Beavs could have run a couple plays up the gut and kicked a game-winning field goal. Of course, that’s easy to say and hard to do.

Marvin update: It’s taken a while, but it looks like Marvin Williams is finally going to be an option at the offensive end. Primarily an unselfish role player through the first eight years of his NBA career, the Bremerton High grad is getting more looks this year with the Utah Jazz. He had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field in a Friday loss to Phoenix, had 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting in a win over Phoenix earlier in the week and had a 19-point game on 7 of 13 shooting in a loss against Dallas last week. He’s making 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts. The 27-year-old Jazzman missed the first five games after having Achilles surgery in the summer and missed another game after breaking his nose on Nov. 15.

Also

This story about former NBA player Bison Dele, formerly known as Brian Williams, is one of the best I’ve read. And the design is incredible. I never imagined you could that kind of work on the internet. If you’ve never read any of the stories at SI.com/longstory, check ‘em out. It’s some of the best writing out there.

South Kitsap grad and current MLB  free agent Willie Bloomquist partnered with an NRA group at a hog hunt in Texas to raise money for his Abe and Max Fund, which purchases electronics for patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Black Friday? What about the black days. Joe Posnanski takes a look at Black Monday, Black Tuesday, Black Wednesday, etc.

Lots of connections between the Saints and Seahawks.

I know you take the games one at a time, but I think the Cardinals, who visit the Clink on Dec. 22,  could pose more of a threat to beat the Seahawks than the Saints on Monday night. Arizona’s rolling. And if Seattle’s got the NFC West title wrapped up by its regular-season finale on Dec. 29, the Rams could steal one, too. The closing schedule is tough. Saints this week, and at the 49ers and Giants the following two weeks. That’s no picnic. And don’t sleep on the Cardinals or Rams, who outplayed Seattle but didn’t get the win earlier.

In case you missed Ken Rosenthal of msn.foxsports.com writes that two sources used the word “desperate” to describe the state of the Mariners, who likely considering all free-agent options.

 

Quick hits: OC volleyball advances to semis, Kitsap pros, Bree, Kellys, UW, Hawks & more

Some links and Friday thoughts:

Moving on: Olympic College’s historic volleyball season continues. The Rangers (43-4) beat Tacoma 3-1 at the NWAACC Championships earlier Friday and takes on host Mount Hood Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The match will be streamed live here. Blue Mountain and Highline are in the other semifinal in the double-elimination tournament. OC lost its first set, but roared back to win the next three against Tacoma, a team it beat six straight times during the regular season. Winner’s bracket finals are Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with the championship match Sunday at 3 p.m. All tournament games are being live streamed.

Fantasy time: It’s that time of year when baseball fans can starting dreaming about signing free agents and making trades to help their teams. If you’re a Seattle Mariners fan, wouldn’t it be cool if they could figure out a way to start the 2014 season with Jacob Ellsbury in center field and Sin-Shoo Choo in left and have them hit 1-2 in the order.

Ah, the Huskies: Washington’s 6-4 and the thought of a another 7-6 season has Husky fans howling to the moon. There’s even an @fireSark twitter account out there. That’s a little harsh. Washington’s continuing road struggles and and inability to beat good teams is frustrating. The move to the hurry-up spread offense seemed like a good move at the time, and it still does, but maybe we should have realized that it wasn’t going to be an overnight success. Sark and his staff had been recruiting linemen to play power football for four years, and now they need quick, athletic guys up front to make it work.

And Washington’s lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball has been glaring. When you’re running the quick-strike offense, your defense is going to be on the field a lot, and this Husky defense, as promising as it looked early on, has been very average of late. They’ve not been able to recruit a true pass rusher, an NFL-type defensive end and that has been a problem.

That said, the biggest reason for Washington’s mediocrity is their lack of discipline. The Huskies are the most penalized team in the country and Sarkisian’s teams are among the most penalized in Husky history. Take a look at this report by Steve Rudman of sportspressnw.com. The numbers don’t lie.

As disappointing as this season has been to date, Washington could still finish 9-4 by winning out and 9-4 is pretty good. If that’s how it plays out — Washington beats Oregon State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2) on the road, beats Washington State at home (Friday, Nov. 27, 12:30 p.m., FOX) and wins  a bowl game — everybody should be happy.

Seahawks-Saints: Everybody is looking forward to the Nov. 30 MNF showdown at the Clink. The Seahawks (9-1) have a bye this week and the Saints (8-2) are coming off of a rather ho-hum 17-13 win at Atlanta. Seattle won at Atlanta, 33-10, dominating the Falcons in every part of the game. Drew Brees will be a challenge, and the Saints defense is one of the league’s best, but Seattle has been playing at another level the past two weeks. I don’t see any kind of a letdown coming for this, not on a Monday night with the nation watching. I’m looking forward to the matchup between New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Seahawks’ safety Cam Chancellor.

Still sliding: Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf won a bronze medal at the North American Cup races in Calgary last weekend, and is competing at Park City, Utah, this weekend. Schaaf finished fifth at the 2010 Winter Olympics and after a year of rehabilitation following hip surgery, she   was fourth at the national selection races last month. Only the top three were picked to compete int he World Cup. The 2014 Olympic team will be announced on Jan. 19 and points collected in international competitions will play a role when the team is named.

“I of course planned on making the national team so it was a bit of a shock and a scramble to make self-funded North American Cup happen,” Schaaf said. “Despite the Games being a long shot now, I found support in a wonderful company out of Denver called Crescent Point. It was truly heartwarming that despite my candor regarding Olympic qualification chances that a company would still have faith and support me like this.”

Schaaf teamed with Tracey Stewart last week.

“This has been a North American Cup like no other,” Schaaf said. “We were fully staffed and felt fortunate to have such incredible coaches along with a team manager and sled tech. Special thanks to Tracey for pushing me and keeping the dream alive.”

Update: Schaaf finished fourth in today’s first race, behind two Americans (No. 1 Elana Meyers and No. 2 Jamie Gruebel but ahead of USA No. 3 driver Jazmine Fenalator, who was eighth). The second race is coming up and will be live streamed.

Kelly green scene: Congratulations are in order for Bob Kelly, father of pro golfer Troy Kelly. Bob recently beat his age, shooting a 66  at Meadowpark Golf Course in Tacoma. One of his other sons, Ryan, also had a hole-in-one at the West Richland Golf Course while winning his amateur division of the Tri-City Budweiser Open in Richland. As for Troy, he plans to play in five Web.com tournaments next year and he’s also exempt for 14 PGA Tour events. Kelly’s 2013 season was cut short because of knee surgery.

Baseball musings: Kansas City’s signing of Jason Vargas (4 years, $32 million) could be a good thing for free agent pitcher Jason Hammel. The Giants reportedly have interest in signing the 6-foot-6 right-hander, a South Kitsap grad. … Willie Bloomquist’s name has been thrown around as a possible utility infielder for the Reds, Red Sox and Dodgers. The free agent from Port Orchard would prefer to re-sign with Arizona, but sounds like that might he a long shot. Last time around the free agency trail, Bloomquist turned down more money from the Giants to sign with the Diamondbacks. … Bloomquist and Jason Ellison were among those attending the memorial service for their ex-high school coach, Elton Goodwin, last weekend. … In case you missed it, another former South Kitsap star, Aaron Cunningham, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. Did you know that Cunningham once sold his car to rapper Ice T? Yeah, for real. … Drew Vettleson, the former Central Kitsap star, is a No. 5 pick in this faketeams.com. fantasy draft. Check it out for their opinion about Vettleson’s upside. They project the left-handed hitting outfielder to be an above average player at the MLB level, hitting .280 with 20 home-run power during his peak years. Vettleson will likely start the 2014 season at Double-A. ... Brady Steiger, a South Kitsap grad and former Lewis-Clark State star who signed with the New York Yankees last summer, is available for private hitting lessons at the West Hills Vipers facility.