Thursday, August 28, 2008

GUEST POST: Football is not like the measles…it won’t go away

By: Becky Shippen-Olsen

Editor's Note: Becky Olsen was the first winner of America's Next Top Obscure Guest Author, and this post is her winning entry.

Let's face it, many women don't understand football and frankly don't care. They go to the games; put on some makeup and a cute tee…mostly for social reasons. They often show up late and/or leave early.

Don't worry—I was once there too (but not entirely). They complain that the boyfriend/spouse spends more time watching SportsCenter or classic BYU games on the Mountain and completely dread the fall season because it’s bombarded with football. Yet, these same women expect their significant others to see every chick-flick, watch Friends with them (and enjoy it) and help them pick out their latest MAC makeup purchase.

Before you get all huffed up and defensive, telling me it really is ridiculous that they love this game so much, and that you’ll never understand why on Earth they would watch a game over-and-over again, let me say this: Football isn’t going anywhere. And it won’t end with your husband either. Your kids will most likely be involved with it too. So instead of resisting and resenting football, embrace it. Try these five tips and in no time you’ll be on the road to football superfan-dom.

Educate Yourself
You know there is a football and a goal post. You know what a quarterback is and you love yelling “first down” with the rest of the crowd. That’s a good start, but ladies there is much more to learn. This should take no time at all. Nothing longer than how much time you would waste on People.com or Facebook. Get familiar football and with your team. Search American Football on Wikipedia, yes this is a credible and will give you a good foundation. Go to your team's site and become familiar with the roster and schedule. Seek out other sources of information like blogs, newspapers and fan forums. Heck, BYU even hosts an Annual Women’s Football Clinic to teach you more about the game. ASB has a great daily regimen for gathering BYU football information as well. The more you know the better. After all, we all hate what we don’t understand.

Quiz & Question
There is nothing more attractive to a guy than a girl interested in something he loves. So if your man loves this game, which he probably does, because you are reading this, then he’ll love to answer any questions you have about the game. A word of warning: Prepare yourself, because he’ll most likely go on and on… sharing his vast knowledge and opinions of the game.

Dress the Part
Nothing is more annoying to a hard core fan than a girl showing up looking like she’s on a Friday night date. (Ladies, you know who you are…fitted turtleneck sweaters, designer jeans, leather boot stilettos and hair down) I’m not saying you can’t look good or sport your designer jeans, just wear your team colors. Besides you’ll be much more comfortable. Get some cute accessories, go crazy. This is the easiest part.

Make a Contribution
Here’s where I really come in/have a lot of experience. See, I have a major interest in baking, especially cake decorating. Every home game we tailgate with our friends. So naturally, I decided I was going to use football as a creative outlet for my baking hobby. I show up each game with a new football-themed treat. I love it, my husband loves it and all our friends love it. I feel more a part of the group and am more excited each week as I brainstorm my next creation. I’m not suggesting you start baking; I’m saying find your niche and see how you can apply it to the football season. If you love face painting, photography, quilting or videography…there are ways you can contribute.




Understand the Commitment, Communicate
I think one of the biggest conflicts couples have with football is the commitment and dedication football fans have to the game. You have the 4-5 hour game, plus a tailgate, pre- and post-game shows, blogs to read, newspapers, TV reports and shows and of course the never-ending conversations they have with other fans. This can seem overwhelming, and truthfully it is. Discuss with your spouse what they think their time commitment is looking like for the season, and what their expectations are for your participation. Try to come to an agreement as a couple; you know go half way or what not. The key here is understanding expectations ahead of time. If you don’t want to watch game recaps on Sunday nights, then don’t—just don’t expect them to give it up. Also, be sure to set aside time to be “away” from football. Maybe a date night is appropriate. Remember: just because he loves football, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

I promise you if you’ll try at least half of these suggestions your fall season will go much more smoothly and you’ll actually start enjoying football. In fact, you’ll love it. Football isn’t going anywhere and neither is your hubby’s passion for it. I’ll leave you with the words of Patti Edwards, wife of the legendary BYU Football Coach, LaVell Edwards, “I didn’t like it [football and him coaching], I called it the measles and thought it would go away. I didn’t like it at all! But after five years I learned the game and I enjoyed it, it is fascinating.”

Becky Shippen Olsen resides in Provo, Utah and is wife to Adam, the editor of Adam’s Sports Blog. She won the first “America’s Next Top Obscure Guest Author” contest on ASB, allowing her this guest post. She is a BYU Alum and public relations specialist. She enjoys baking, rollerblading and Saved by the Bell. You can follow Becky on her blog, Project Domestication.

**Photos by Trevor and Lesley Winn Photography**

Preview: Northern Iowa


What: BYU vs. Northern Iowa
When: August 30, 2008; 4 p.m. MDT
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Of Interest: The Northern Iowa Panthers are an FCS (formerly Div. 1-AA) team. They are currently ranked #3 in the FCS poll. Their record against FBS (formerly div. 1-A) opponents is 20-60-5. BYU is currently ranked #16, and the Panthers are 0-3 all time vs. ranked FBS opponents. Last season Northern Iowa beat in-state rival Iowa State 24-13. Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is a UNI alum.

About the Panthers: UNI is a powerhouse program in the FCS. They will contend for an FCS championship this year, as they have done consistently over the past few years (they lost in the semifinals to Delaware last year).

Key Returner: Star running back Corey Lewis. Lewis ran for 1,513 yards and 16 TDs last year. To give some perspective, Luke Staley, star running back for BYU, ran for 1,596 yards in 2001.

Key Losses: The Panthers lost four starters on the offensive line last year (two to the NFL) and their starting quarterback. They will be young and inexperienced in the lines and under center, but UNI returns a fair amount of players on defense and have a strong wide receiver core.

Matching up: One of the most obvious advantages for BYU is the trenches. BYU's offensive line weighs in at an average of 326.4 pounds, and will face a UNI defensive front that weighs an average 272 pounds. On the other side of the ball, BYU's d-line checks in at 278, while the Panther O-line weighs an average of 301 pounds per player.

The UNI linemen are small, and as was mentioned earlier they are inexperienced. Four offensive linemen will be making their first collegiate start, and will be forced to take on all-MWC defensive end Jan Jorgenson and a cadre of talented BYU defensive linemen.

On offense, BYU's line is big, tall, deep and experienced. Look for BYU to dominate the trenches throughout the game.

UNI's advantage: A speedy tailback who can rack up the yards and a tough quarterback who can run effectively.

BYU's advantage: Strong, physical linemen and tailbacks, and a deep offense that includes a seasoned quarterback and several weapons.

Adam's Take: Bronco and the boys are talking up UNI big time. Almost to the point that I'm a little nervous. But then I calm down and remember we're playing Northern Iowa.

The BYU team is decidedly NOT looking past the outmatched Panthers, and the Appalachian State/Michigan fiasco is still fresh on everyone's mind. For that reason, BYU will come out ready to play and will dominate this fine FCS team like they should.

I expect the Panthers to put a few points on the board, on account of their running QB and Corey Lewis, but BYU will ultimately smother them with fine defense, and cut their hearts out with a wide array of offensive firepower. Additionally, we will own the trenches all afternoon. The line play will ensure a Cougar victory.

Final Score: BYU 52, UNI 17

(Sources: BYU news release, UNI news release)

Other Notes that have nothing to do with the game:

*You all have until tomorrow (Friday) at noon to get me your picks for the Pick 'em game. If you don't do it this week you can start next week, but you'll be at a scoring disadvantage having missed one game.

*If you haven't already, you need to check out Quinn Gooch's football blog: Deepshadesofblue.com. Gooch is the man, and he offers some inside insight into BYU football.

*I watched Legends: LaVell Edwards on the Mtn. last night. You all need to see that show. It made me remember why I love BYU so dang much. It airs again tonight at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BYU football pick 'em 2008


Hello there, readers.

It's game week, and my thoughts are consumed with football. During this time I devour any information I can get, and my passion has intensified to explosive levels. What's more, my anxiousness has only become stronger now that I don't have the Olympics and those pasty white, dead-looking Chinese divers to distract me.

I'm sure you can all relate.

Anyway, while daydreaming about BYU and the pummelling we're sure be handing out to all our foes I came up with an idea.

I will host my own pick 'em game complete with a complex scoring system, weekly standings and a prize or two for the winners. Here's how it will work.

*Everyone who wants to play needs to email me at AdamsSportsBlog@gmail.com. Include your name for the weekly standings.

*To play, pick the winners and the scores of all 12 regular season BYU games and email me your picks (again, at AdamsSportsBlog@gmail.com). Also, keep a copy of your picks for yourself, in case you'd like to make changes as the weeks go by.

*As a tiebreaker, pick your prediction for a bowl game. Include the bowl, BYU's opponent and the final score.

*Each week I will assign points to each player based on their picks. The scoring will work thusly: 20 points for guessing the correct outcome (winner, loser), and up to 10 points for guessing the correct score of each team--for a total of 40 possible points each week.

The score points will be determined by how close a pick is to the actual score. Each player will receive 10 points per team for a perfect pick, nine points for a pick that is one point off, eight points for a pick that is two points off, etc.

For example:

Your Pick: BYU 35, UNI 14
Actual Score: BYU 42, UNI 9

You would win 20 points for guessing the correct outcome (a BYU win), 3 points for being within 7 of BYU's actual score, and 5 points for being within 5 of UNI's score for a grand total of 32 points. Does that make sense? If not, read these rules at Cougarfan.com. They do a better job explaining it, and I'm basically just ripping them off anyway.

*Weekly standings will be kept on the right side of my blog.

*You should email me your picks for the whole season before this Friday, but you can make changes to your picks as the weeks go on (except tiebreaker predictions. Those cannot be changed). All picks are final at noon on the day before game day (Friday, Thursday or Wednesday--whatever the case may be).

*The winner will be the person with the most points at the end of the season. He or she will receive a second-hand trophy and a BYU t-shirt of their choice from the BYU bookstore ($25 limit) courtesy of Adam's Sports Blog. I'm not sure about second place, but I'm thinking something along the lines of a Twix bar.

*Also, the first person to score a perfect 40 during the course of the season will be given a special mystery prize.

*If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at AdamsSportsBlog@gmail.com

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The 2008 Olympics: The Best, biggest and most

The 2008 Beijing Olympics have ended. Actually, I think they officially concluded a few weeks ago, but the tape just made it to the states.

Any way you slice it, starting tomorrow I'll have to find a new way to fill my time at 7 p.m.

...and at 11:30 p.m.

...and at 6 a.m.

Anyway, with the conclusion of such an historic and epic Olympics I thought it only fitting to present my picks for the "best," "biggest" and "most," spanning the entire two weeks of the games. Let the superlatives begin.

**Best male athlete: Michael Phelps, who won 8 gold medals--the most of any US athlete, ever. And he did it in thrilling fashion, if I say so myself.

**Best female athlete: Nastia Liukin. The US gymnast won five medals: The all-around gold medal, the team silver medal, the uneven bars silver medal, the balance beam silver and the floor bronze.

**Biggest Butter Face: Kerri Walsh, of the U.S. women's beach volleyball team.

**Best team: Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, who never lost a set on their way to Women's Beach Volleyball gold.

**Most clutch performance: Phil Dalhausser, who chalked up 5 blocks in the final set of the gold medal Men's Beach Volleyball game.

**Most surprising performance: The Men's Water Polo team, which defeated Germany, Serbia and other water polo powerhouses on their way to their first silver medal since the '80s.

**Best finish: Jason Lezak, in the 4X100 freestyle relay. Lezak ran down Frenchie Alain Bernard after he and the French team boasted they would "smash" the American team.

**Biggest disappointment: Tyson Gay--the heralded 100m dash athlete who would challenge Jamaica's Usain Bolt failed to qualify for the 100m finals.

**Biggest choke: The US softball team, which was undefeated in the last 16,000 years, but lost to Japan in the gold medal game.

**Biggest choke II: Both the men's and women's 4X100m track relay teams dropped their batons and were disqualified from the finals.

**Best redemption: The US basketball team. The "Redeem Team" charged through all their old foes--Greece, Argentina and Spain twice--to bring basketball gold back to the US where it belongs.

**Most inspiring: 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres, who won two silver medals and looked great doing it.

**Biggest heartbreak: American hurdler Lolo Jones, who sprinted out to an early lead in the 100m hurdles, but tripped up on the second-to-last hurdle and finished fourth.

**Most underrated: Mariel Zagunis, Sada Jacobson and Becca Ward--three US fencers who swept the women's sabre event and gave US its first three medals of the games.

**Best (and healthiest) rivalry: Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. They may have been all buddy-buddy in front of the cameras, but I know deep down each one of these fine gymnasts were itching to put it in the other's face on the gym floor. Behind each hug was a silent thought: "I hope you fry on the balance beam..."

**Most confusing decision: The women's uneven bar finals--which saw the United States' Nastia Liukin and China's He Kexin record the exact same score, but somehow Liukin received the silver.

**Biggest underdogs: The US men's volleyball team, which started winning early and beat up on bigger, better programs like Russia and Brazil to claim gold.

**Most boring event: Platform diving. Ugh. Why did they put that crap in primetime?

**Biggest piece of crap broadcasting decision: Never airing any of the basketball games at any times but 4 a.m.

**Best celebration: Usain Bolt, who started thumping his chest even before he crossed the finish line, and did more gladiator poses than Hulk Hogan after he won the 100m dash.

**Best athlete not named Michael Phelps: Bryan Clay, who coasted to victory for the United States in the decathlon. He was so far ahead in points that all he needed to do was finish the final event--the 1500 meter run. He did, and collapsed after he crossed the finish line.

There's my list. What did I miss? What are your "Best," "Biggest," and "Most" moments of the Beijing Olympics?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Respect the Decathlete.


Michael Phelps deserves all the credit in the world for his incredible accomplishments during the Beijing Olympics, but after watching Bryan Clay win the Gold Medal in the decathlon tonight it's hard for me to call Phelps the greatest Olympic athlete at the games.

The decathlon (from the Latin "deca," meaning ten, and "thlon," meaning "crazy sports that have no practical application in the real world") consists of these events (source):

Day 1
*100 meters
*long jump
*shot put
*high jump
*400 meters
Day 2
*110 meter hurdles
*discus
*pole vault
*javelin
*1500 meters

And after watching Clay absolutey destroy the other contenders during the past two days, and then collapse on the track after the 1500 meters, I was sold. All decathletes are incredible competitors, and Clay is their king. I mean, some people spend their whole lives mastering just one of the above events; decathletes master each and every one of them.

And this crap isn't easy. When's the last time you tried to hoist yourself over an 18 foot bar using a long stick?

Anyway, Bryan Clay--my hat's off to you. And my hat's off to everyone that takes on ten events in two days and rocks them all. I hope your gold medal is a few ounces heavier than everyone else's.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympic volleyball



Watching these Olympic games I am forced to admit it: Life is very, very good for US American volleyball enthusiasts like myself.

Do you people realize that the USA has reached the finals for every single volleyball event in these Olympic games? And two events, men's and women's beach volleyball, have already yielded gold to the US teams. As far as the indoor events go, the women swept Cuba (a team to which they lost during pool play) a few days ago, and the men held off a powerful Russia team last night to reach the Gold Medal game.

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is a first ever for US volleyball. We could very likely win all four volleyball Gold Medals.

And besides, isn't volleyball just awesome? I know a lot of people are on the fence about volleyball, but I'm begging you to follow my lead and just dive into it. The blocking, the digging, the cut shots--I promise your life will be enriched as a result of your new found interest.

If anyone needs proof of how exciting volleyball games can be, one need look no further than the past few days at these Olympic games to see a bounty of thrilling examples.

Last night, for instance, the men's volleyball team, including BYU alum Ryan Millar, held off the powerful Russians to advance to the gold medal game. It was the first time in nine years that the United States beat Russia in volleyball. USA went up two sets to none quickly, but had to hold off Russia until the fifth set to finally put them away.

The other night the women's team crushed Cuba three sets to zero. Cuba swept the United States earlier in the games, but USA exacted sweet, sweet revenge and advanced to the gold medal game for the first time in 24 years.

In beach volleyball Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor completely obliterated every team they faced. Not only did they not lose a game, they didn't even lose a set. They dominated the Chinese team of Tian Ja/Wang in the pouring rain to capture the gold medal. The next day Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers put a similar beat down on the Brazilian team of Araujo/Fabio. This game went to three sets, but in the third set Dalhausser shut the Brazilians down with something like 800 blocks, including the game-and-gold-medal-winner.

If you've missed these games then you are not fit to live, frankly. But there's still time to make up for it: the women's and men's gold medal matches are today and tomorrow respectively.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Cougar football video: An ASB exclusive!

An ex-BYU baseball player (for privacy purposes we'll call him M. Weingarten) sent me a link recently to a BYU football preview video that I have yet to see anywhere else.

Therefore, I'm branding this an Adam's Sports Blog exclusive.


Does that or does that not make you salivate? I mean, all but the part at the end where David Nixon rushes the camera. That was a little weird.

Thank you M. We are all in your debt.

Scoreboard upgrade

I've heard fans yearn for it.

I've read Greg Wrubell hint at it.

And now I've seen it with my own eyes.

The BYU athletic department has finally done something with the great white canvas we call a scoreboard and dazzled it up a bit. I saw it first on my way home from physical therapy today, and it is gorgeous.


I'm sorry it's such a poor picture (cell phone), but the back of the scoreboard will now feature an oval "Y" (it's not finished, as you can tell), and a band underneath that reads "Tradition. Spirit. Honor." Underneath that it says "Championship Football."

All in all... it's pretty sweet. If you're in the Provo area I highly recommend taking a drive down the University Parkway hill and taking a gander at it yourself.

Also, I don't know if you all have already heard, but the north scoreboard will now be a video board much like the one in the south side of the stadium. That upgrade happened a while ago, but still bears mentioning.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Depth and recruiting

I have just a word or two to say about two important areas of BYU football: Depth and recruiting.

First depth. It doesn't take a brain scientist to see BYU will have issues with depth this year. While some positions look very deep and strong (offensive line, defensive line, receivers), other positions are looking mighty thin indeed.

For example: Today's scrimmage, which featured no starters, was "disappointing," according to head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Part of the disappointment, without a doubt, had to be the offense's painfully futile attempts to move the ball down the field.

Max Hall didn't play, and neither Brendan Gaskins (10-for-15, 90 yards, two ints.) nor Kurt McUen (7-for-14, 65 yards, 1 int.) were able to put points on the board.

Only one QB, Stephen Covey, moved the ball into the end zone.

Thanks to Jay Drew's BYU blog for the information.

Our quarterback situation is very scary, in my opinion. This report, along with what I've seen with my own eyes, leads me to believe we have absolutely no depth at quarterback. Max Hall is a warrior, and I would rather him lead our team than anyone in the country, but behind him there stands an empty closet. Gaskins and McUen are nowhere near the QB Max is, and if Max should happen to go down this year (heaven forbid), we can effectively kiss this season goodbye.

Covey, on the other hand, represents a reason to be optimistic. This was the second scrimmage in which Covey was used as an "option" quarterback, and since he was the only one to see the end zone today I'd say he's been making progress. Running quarterbacks are always exciting, but a running quarterback at BYU is reason enough to get downright silly.

I would love nothing more than to see Covey take the field for a few plays every game and run around. But that's just the kind of guy I am. If BYU can add a speedy option-type dimension to its game, and do so effectively, we'll be that much more formidable. Heck, we'll be daunting. Yeah, I said it. Daunting.

Another position with which we have depth issues is linebacker. I like our starting four; Doman, Bauman, Nixon and So'oto will be a solid group. I'm especially excited to see how So'oto makes the transition from offense to defense. He's already the fastest guy on his side of the ball, and his experience with the offense will only help him key in on opposing QBs, WRs and tailbacks.

However, BYU lost two starters in the offseason in Terrence Hooks and Grant Nelson. That loss will prove to be costly as the season goes on. Behind the starting four, whom I mentioned earlier, will be Matt Ah You (fresh off a mission), Coleby Clawson (Snow JC transfer), Jadon Wagner (RS freshman), Michael Alisa (true freshman), Spencer Hadley (true freshman) and Iona Pritchard (true freshman).

Recently joining the ranks at linebacker is another true freshman Daniel Sorenson.

Look that list over again. Does this alarm anyone else? I know these guys are all great athletes, but I'm looking at this list and I only see two guys (Nixon and Bauman) who have played in a college football game as a linebacker.

Don't think about it too long or you'll get a little freaked out. Like me, right now. I'm thinking about it and I'm freaking.

Fortunately we have great coaches who will prepare our young crop of linebackers sooner than we might think. Ah You and Clawson, for instance, have already been praised by coaches, and are pushing their teammates for playing time. Sorenson was such a playmaker that they switched him to a position in which he might see the field faster. Encouraging to say the least.

Also, I still maintain a hope that Hooks will be back in the lineup in mid-September.

And David Nixon will be rock solid this year. Nixon has a nose for the football and his speed will be a huge asset. Look for him to "Ballard" a few poor QBs this year on more than one occasion.

On to recruiting.

You may have heard about BYU's recent commitment from Brett Thompson, a wide receiver out of El Dorado Hills, Calif. Thompson is 6'3"/210 and a three-star recruit from Oak Ridge High School. Thanks to 4th and 18 for the picture.

This is a very nice commitment for the Cougs. I can't say that I'm very surprised, but I'm still very, very happy.

To give you some perspective, our last 6'3" three-star receiver was this dude.

BYU is clearly targeting big, tall receivers and I couldn't be happier. No one will hear this guy complaining if we can get three Austin Collies lining up every play. Sprinkle in a speedster like McKay Jacobson for good measure and you've got yourself a very nice WR core.

In other words, good work BYU. Now hopefully Chris Washington, who said he will make a decision before his senior year begins, chooses BYU soon as well.

Finally, Spanish Fork tight end Richard Wilson has been on the receiving end of a lot of hype lately. And rightfully so. He's a strong, tall, sure-handed tight end in the mold of Jonny Harline, Dennis Pitta and the like.

He has listed BYU in his top four schools, but this recruiting battle is just starting to heat up. Wilson's stock is only going to rise, and I won't be surprised if he's lured away to a BCS school (especially since Miami, a school known for producing quality tight ends, is high on Wilson's list).

I can't say I would be all that disappointed if Wilson decided not to come to BYU. I mean, I know he'd be a great fit and a great get for the program, but if there's any year we can afford to miss out on a tight end it's this one. We are so loaded at tight end it's not even funny. Here's a sampling of what we have:

Andrew George--Junior
Dennis Pitta--Junior
Kaneakua Friel--Freshman
Braden Brown--Freshman
Devin Mahina--Mission
Austin Holt--Mission

Every one of those guys are big time tight ends. I'm not saying we can't use any more athletes, but I am saying BYU won't exactly be hurting if Wilson decides to ditch the whole Utah scene.

Okay, that's all I have for today. Please discuss.

We Have a Winner!

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to now introduce to you America's Next Top Obscure Guest Author:


Becky Shippen-Olsen!

After a long, grueling competition, Becky has finally risen as the morning sun to take her crown as America's FIRST Top Obscure Guest Author.

This competition, as you'll recall, began months ago. I wanted to create an opportunity for my readers to become a bigger part of my blog. I came up with a list of those who frequently left comments and put them all in a giant poll, encouraging the finalists to campaign for themselves. I was hoping it would be well-received by the contestants, and thus drive readership to ASB. After weeks of elimination rounds the field was sliced down to two: Becky and Jeris Hobbs.

The race was close for a while, but Becky's furious campaigning proved to be too much for the feeble Hobbs.

Now Becky is the winner, and I must say I couldn't be happier. Her tenacity and enthusiasm is unmatched, and I'm confident her guest-authored post will be a thing of beauty.

Thank you everyone for participating, voting and being so patient. I hope you all enjoy Becky's post when it comes. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Michael Phelps behind the scenes

Not often does Adam's Sports Blog receive some truly inside, exclusive information, but when it does it's always special.

Well, my fair golden-haired readers, this is one of those times. Presenting for your delight a truly exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Michael Phelps' thrilling .01 second win over Mksuvulyachich Cavic in the 100m Butterfly:



Couldn't help posting this one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Site Spotlight: BYU Cougar Crazies


It's about that time of year when sports fans everywhere are waking from a deep slumber. They're breaking out of their cocoons in a festival of rebirth.

Nowhere is this renaissance more apparent than my sister blog, BYUCougarCrazies.blogspot.com. During the offseason this blog rests like a bear deep in hibernation. Once August hits, though, the beast is awakened and the Cougar Crazies buzz and hum with humor, controversy, biting sarcasm, unique insight and an abounding love for all things BYU.

This blog harnesses the collective creative genius of Trevor "Long Ball" Winn, Rock "Tyson Gay" Mitchell, Eliot "Ber-Zerkely" Bennion and others, including myself. In fact, here's my latest post on Cougar Crazies. I hope you like it; I'm proud of my work.

I'll warn you, It's a bit edgier than my blog. The Crazies aren't afraid of stepping on a few toes, but if you're a true Cougar Crazy it's a must-see.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Live Blogging: Track and Field

After a night of re-watching the "fastest man alive" (Usain Bolt) and the greatest Olympian of all time (Michael Phelps), I just have a few thoughts.

First, I have to tell you all about a trip my wife and I took to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We made a special point to hit up the Met because of an exhibit they were running which featured superheros, their costumes and how they've influenced fashion and culture.

Both my wife and I wanted to see this exhibit because it appealed to both of us: Becky because she is very cultured and thoughtful, and me because deep down below the surface I am a very nerdy comic book geek.

Anyway, the exhibit used a lot of different superheros, but one of the most interesting to me was Flash. Flash, as you'll recall, has super speed and is a part of the Justice League.

I bring this up because the museum exhibit made an interesting point about Flash. Flash, they said, is quickly becoming a non-hero. We humans are bridging the gap that made Flash so special and are quickly making super speed obsolete. As evidence, the museum collected pieces of fashion that evolved over time to make humans faster: the bullet swimming suits, different pieces of athletic gear, etc.

I thought about this exhibit while watching Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps tonight. These are the fastest athletes in the world at their respective sports, but one can only wonder: How long will their super speed last?

Year after year seemingly unbreakable records get broken. Every Olympics bring with them new superstars. Times keep getting lower and lower, and everyone that witnesses these speedsters are left in a wake of awe, thinking these times will never get any lower.

But they always do.

They call Usain Bolt, winner of the 100 meters, the "fastest man alive." But his unbeatable time will be beaten eventually. But when? And who?

Flash is shaking in his boots right now.

PS- Phelps is the new Poseidon. What he finished tonight was incredible.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More from the Cougar Kickoff

The Hobbs brothers and I rifling through some used practice jerseys at the Cougar Kickoff sale in the Indoor Pracitce Facility

Jeris, Max and I. Max acting aloof like we're not even there. That's so Max.


Two morons and one fine quarterback. I'll let you decide which is which.

From Left: Trevor, Russ, The Rock of Gibraltar, Adam

Friday, August 15, 2008

Morning Thoughts: BYU football, Olympics, more

What a great time for sports, eh? Life is good in the sports world right now. I feel very serene.

I think it's the Olympics. You gotta love the Olympics. Everyone loves the Olympics. Even people who hate sports like the Olympics. It's the one time in a four-year period when strapping guys like myself actually feel good watching women's gymnastics.

(Resisting urge to make one more wisecrack about Utah fans...)

Well, unless you're a Ute fan.

(Dang, couldn't do it. Maybe next time.)

And then on top of the Olympics you pile on football. I don't care what anyone says, football is the king of sports. No other sports fills our great country with this kind of passion and intensity. And personally, no other sport causes me to wake up in the middle of the night in a state of giddiness thinking about the season opener.

Yep, it's a great time of the year.

So allow me, please, to get a few thoughts off my brain.

1. I could be an Olympian. I'm only 24. If I start training now I could do it, and I could get a gold medal. The only question is which sport? I'm thinking beach volleyball. (Seriously- how many of you have had the exact same thought this last week? I know I'm not alone.)

2. Caught the Cougar Kickoff last night. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to hold up because my leg was giving me trouble, but then after seeing Max Hall I was infused with the Love of the Cougar--a natural painkiller, adrenaline boost and aphrodisiac. (Too much?)

The wife and I bought some Cougar gear, and then some friends and I snapped pictures with Mad Max and our favorite Mountain of a Man: Travis Bright.

Bright and I officially have a pseudo-friendship. He and I both have a mutual friend (Rock Mitchell) and last night he asked me about my leg. Mountain of a Man, that Travis Bright.

3. During the festivities Bronco Mendenhall took some questions from fans. He was asked about the BYU offense, which he described as "indefensible," UNI (our opening game) whom Mendenhall framed as a very good team, and wearing blue to the games. About the latter, Mendenhall said the following (Not a direct quote, but close enough): "I think wearing blue should be required... when you see someone who isn't wearing blue, I'm not saying you should be mean to them, but you should definitely remind them of the expectations that come along with attending BYU games." Awesome. Just awesome.

4. Nastia Liukin won me over last night. At first I was pulling for the elfish and endearing Shawn Johnson, but Liukin with her psycho stage dad, her icy stare and her uneven bars won me over. Good work, Nastia. And Johnson gets my respect for taking the silver away from that Chinese chick. You know the judges were cooking the books last night. Come on. Back me up on this.

5. My thoughts and prayers are with John Beck. I'd love to keep defending the guy, but at some point you have to put up or shut up.

6. Finally, I love BYU but sometimes my fellow fans make it very hard. My buddy Rock wrote a funny and painfully true opinion piece about Bryce Mahuika on my sister blog recently and it quickly became the center of much controversy. Trevor, who does a fine job promoting my sister blog, was put under scrutiny and several BYU fans flamed Rock for his comments regarding the oft-injured Mahuika.

Listen, first of all- the guy sucks. Just admit it. What meaningful thing has Mahuika done for BYU? Please, I want to know.

Second, it's okay to say a player sucks. Saying a BYU player sucks doesn't make you a traitor or even less of a fan. If anything, it makes you more of a fan because you can recognize weakness and target areas for improvement.

Third, I'm sure Bryce Mahuika is a great guy. Saying he sucks as a football player does not mean I think he should be damned to hell.

Fourth, a message to certain uptight BYU fans: LIGHTEN-FREAKING-UP. Please learn the fine arts of levity and lightheartedness. Life is so much more enjoyable when you can learn to laugh, rather than be so easily offended.

Anyway, that's it. Take 'er easy today, and go see The Dark Knight again in honor of the football team.

Why I like Michael Phelps


Let me begin by saying I like Michael Phelps, and you should too. The Olympics is not a time to play the "Too Cool for School" card and stay off the bandwagon; when a fellow countryman is going for 8 gold medals in one Olympic year, you root for him. End of story.

Now let me explain why I like Michael Phelps.

Last night while watching what had to be hovering around my 23rd hour of Olympics, NBC showed a Michael Phelps graphic explaining why he was the best swimmer in the world.

They showed his big feet, his long wingspan, his stubby legs and Herculean torso. The announcers also pointed out that Phelps is double-jointed in the knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, tailbone, index fingers and jaw. He was for a swimmer, as they put it, built perfectly.

I respect that theory, but I think Phelps is the world's greatest swimmer for another reason: HE WORKS LIKE A POSSESSED MAN-BEAST.

I guess in the ever-going Nature vs. Nurture debate, you could find me solidly in the "nurture" camp. Don't get me wrong, genetics certainly play a part--but stubby legs and a huge wingspan will only get you about one tenth of the way to a gold medal.

The rest? Work. Work like this. Every single day. Even Christmas.

The NBC guys mentioned each of Phelps' workouts burn 4,000 calories. To give you some perspective, a 200 pound man running a marathon at an average of 10 minutes per mile will burn 3956.2 calories. Michael Phelps does that every day and then some.

The guy is a machine, and that's why I like him.

Long ago Michael Phelps made a decision, or a series of decisions, that put him on this path. He decided to be the very best swimmer in the world, and he worked very, very hard to reach that goal. There was some natural talent, without a doubt, but if there's one thing we all learned from The Natural: Talent isn't enough.

Yes, I like Michael Phelps because he is a great olympian, but I respect him because he has complete control of his life. He mastered himself, you could say.

I have endless respect for people who can turn their frail little human bodies into fine-tuned machines. It's beautiful to me--artistic. Michael Phelps and every athlete like him is a living testament to the potential which the human body can achieve. They are proof that these bodies of ours can be tamed, sculpted, trained and put to work.

When dedication, commitment, steel nerves, good decisions and the power of the mind work in concert with the miracle of the human body something special happens.

Something like Michael Phelps.

Here's to those who train, but don't abuse, the human body--and achieve greatness as a result.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Michael Reed, keep on keepin' on


Salt Lake Tribune BYU beat writer Jay Drew recently said that if he had to pick a fall camp MVP it would be Michael Reed, the steady receiver out of Baytown, Texas.

I'm a fan of Michael Reed, and I appreciate Drew's kind words. Reed doesn't get the credit he deserves, in my opinion, especially from BYU fans.

Reed is in a tough position at BYU. He was a former Texas WR star who came into Provo riding a wave of hype. He had a solid '05 season, becoming one of John Beck's favorite targets, but then kind of slipped into the shadows--with guys like McKay Jacobson and Jonny Harline grabbing the limelight in '06, and then the return of Austin Collie in '07.

All the while, though, Reed has been a solid receiver for BYU. Granted, he has an unusual propensity to get injured during touchdown celebrations (remember TCU, '06?), but Reed has never done anything at BYU to make me dislike him for any reason.

Has he been a 1,000 yard guy? No.

Has he been a "stretch the defense" deep threat guy? Sometimes... but generally no.

What he has done, though, is get critical first downs, make spectacular TD catches (Wyoming, '06) and block his butt off for superstar tailbacks like Harvey Unga.

By the way, if you haven't noticed Michael Reed's blocking abilities, I highly recommend you watch for it this year. One of the most underrated abilities for receivers is blocking, and Reed does a great job of it. (For proof watch the beginning of this video where Reed de-cleats Utah's Steve Tate. It's a thing of beauty.)

Anyway, keep on truckin' Michael Reed. You're a solid guy, and I hope you have a great senior season.

A painful admission

Everyone, I need to come clean.

I'm not proud to admit this, nor am I happy to concede that there is a chink in my BYU armor, but I feel I need to unburden myself.

I think, at this point of the year 2008, I'm more interested in the Olympics than I am in BYU football.

I know--I feel dirty even typing it, but I think it's true. Right now I think I would honestly rather watch guys like Phil Dalhauser (pictured) and Michael Phelps than read about Jordan Pendleton and his problems with Coach Jaime Hill.

I blame my ACL.

If I didn't have all this time to sit around icing my knee you better believe I would be at a computer screen sucking up all the BYU information I could find. Instead my days are spent icing, elevating, bending, flexing and rehabbing. Naturally, it's much easier to incorporate a television into these activities than a computer, and as a result I've become much attached to the swim team, the gymnastics guys and gals, the beach volleyball ladies with their funky patch-pad things on their shoulders and the USA basketball team (aka: The Redeem Team).

In fact, I recorded the USA b-ball game vs. Greece that aired early this morning, and it was just a pleasure to watch. I normally don't like guys like Kobe Bryant, but he and LeBron and Dwyane were making me jump out of my crutches with glee this morning. I was hooping and hollering like a little boy.

Anyway, I know this will catch some heat, but thank you for letting me unburden myself. I feel a lot better about my life now.

But rest assured, I will still keep an eagle's eye on the BYU football team and will post about them regularly. In the meantime, though, I highly recommend The Cougar Crazies blog. Its editor, Trevor, is running on all cylinders, and when that happens the blog really becomes special. By the way, do us all a favor and click on some Google ads while you're there.

Hanging my head in shame

Everyone, I just want to say I'm sorry for my lack of material lately. Here I promised two BYU football posts a day this week, and I couldn't even get through the second day.

I will just say this: Blogger's burnout is real.

But I don't feel too bad about keeping the masses uninformed. The Cougar Crazies are up and running once again, and I myself feel reborn--like a Phoenix rising from Arizona. Be prepared for all kinds of crap leaping off my keyboards soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ANTOGA Final Entries

Time to pick your winner, everyone! I finally received entries from both Becky and Jeris, and I will present them now without commentary.

Jeris: "I never really expected to make it this far in Adam's little reality TV knockoff contest, but here I am, one of the finalists to ANATONGA or what ever the crap it is called. I guess it all boils down to this. I don't really care if I lose because losing is my thing. I'm up against some stiff competition (Adam is sleeping with the other contestant). So here is my history. I graduated from Hillcrest High School and applied to BYU Idaho, but due to my horrific score of 19 on the ACTs the big wigs in the suits gave me a summer term to prove myself. Well I worked hard and after my mission I moved to greener pastures and a real football team when BYU in Provo opened their arms. I have played almost every intramural sport and I think that my combined record is somewhere down in the 13 and 64 range, needless to say I never got the CHAMP t-shirt that all freshmen lie in their little dorm bed dreaming about during their first semester. Suzanna, the girl I later married, turned down my proposals about two dozen times (over a period of a year). Well long story short we are now happily married with a kid on the way...eventually...maybe. Anyways point is, I don't think I'm going to win. The odds are stacked against me, but does that matter? I don't think so. I'll wake up tomorrow and continue to suck and I'll continue to blaze a trail until my day comes."

Becky: "Let's face it many women don't understand football and frankly don't care. They go to the games; put on some makeup and a cute tee…mostly for social reasons. Don't worry; I was once there too (but not entirely). They complain that the boyfriend/spouse spends more time watching Sports Center or classic BYU games on the Mountain. Yet, they expect him to see every chick-flick and comment on their latest MAC makeup purchase. Give me a chance to post on ASB and I'll give you six tips to helping you (or your significant other) not only understand football, but love it!"

There it is, readers. Vote for your champion and in one week's time America's First Top Obscure Guest Author will be named.

What happened, Fui?

Let me take you back to September 8, 2006. BYU was playing Tulsa University after losing to Arizona the week before. We were still a little concerned about our Cougars and we needed a win to right the ship.

This was a great game. It was a coming out party of sorts for our offense, and for one player in particular: Fui Vakapuna.

Vakapuna was a different player. When he got the ball, I honestly believed anything could happen. This was exemplified perfectly vs. Tulsa when he took a routine handoff and bruised and pounded his way through defender after defender (one guy bounced off Fui three different times) for a 38-yard rumble.

He used to take handoffs at the 20 and turn them into touchdowns routinely, and he would do it in incredible fashion. Remember when he rolled over the Colorado State safety for a touchdown? That was the kind of crazy exciting stuff we came to expect from Fui on a daily basis.

In 2006 Fui was the man. He played with heart and he was inconquerable. Not only was he a bruising tailback--and a touchdown machine--but he was a team leader. He played on two different special teams and became the fan favorite.

But then the infamous "high ankle sprain" changed Fui forever. Last year was supposed to be Fui's year. He was to be the primary back, and some even said he was on track to be the best tailback ever at BYU. I'm not kidding, I really heard that.

Well we all know how 2007 turned out. Vakapuna was not the featured back, but more of a place holder. Like those guys at the Oscars that fill seats when people get up to go to the bathroom (you Seinfeld fans know what I'm talking about). Basically Fui was brought in to give Harvey Unga a rest every other play or so. He was a complete bust last year, always playing the injury card.

We have yet to see which Fui will show up in 2008, but frankly my hopes aren't high. Despite reports that he is back to his old form, Fui is missing most of camp with a pulled hamstring. A pulled hamstring, by the way, that Coach Mendhenhall seems to think is due to lack of personal rehab.

It's a shame, really. I loved watching Fui play in 2006, and now it appears he's just fading into the night. I hope he'll prove me wrong, but Fui has definitely disappointed me lately.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our new kicker

Remember when we got a commitment from Mr. Universe Justin Sorenson? It came at the perfect time. 2007, as you'll remember, was a horrible year for Cougar kickers. Remember this? We didn't trust our kicker with any kind of responsibility outside the ten yard line.

All the while we were hearing about a wunderkind (that's not a typo--it's German) up at Bingham High School who was kicking 200 yard field goals on a daily basis. And the best news is he signed on with the Cougs.

We've been waiting eagerly for the kicker/unicyclist phenom to step on BYU campus and now he is finally here. The air in Provo is a little bit sweeter.

But now... it looks to me like Sorenson was a little over-hyped.

Sorenson has been a little less than impressive in camp lately according to reports. At best he's been on par with Mitch Payne, last year's train wreck of a kicker.

Although, in fairness to Payne he was hampered most of the year with a groin injury. Ah the kicker's kryptonite: The groin.

There is good news, though: Sorenson may not be as accurate as we all thought he would be, but at least he'll be able to boot the ball out of the endzone on a regular basis. That alone is enough to earn the kid a scholarship; letting the other teams start every drive on the 40 is no way to win ball games.

UPDATE:

I neglected to include the link to the story that prompted this post in the first place. In this article Jay Drew reported that BYU coaches allowed Justin Sorenson a chance to kick a 65-yard field goal. He fell well short.

O'Neill: Walking the walk

We've all heard about the ruckus O'Neill Chambers caused when he gave his controversial interview with ESPN's Graham Watson earlier this month. (If you haven't read the article, by the way, you really need to read it. You can do so by clicking here.)

The knee-jerk reaction of most rational BYU fans is to say, "This punk kid needs a lesson or two in good old fashioned humility!" For good reason, too. He trashes our returning wide receivers, our defensive backs and even our coaches, if you interpret it that way.

I'm taking a different stand on this situation. I've been a Chambers fan since he signed with BYU, and if he's the athlete I always expected him to be, frankly I would be a little disappointed if he wasn't talking a little trash about his compadres.

Barring Austin Collie, who is untouchable as far as I'm concerned, and Michael Reed, who is a senior leader and has proved his worth, the WR field is ripe and ready for Chambers to thrust in his sickle and start the harvest.

Let's examine what the media guys are saying about Chambers' performance in camp since his interview (dated August 6, 2008):

*August 8: QB Max Hall hooks up with Chambers for a 40 yard strike--Cougar Tracks

*August 9: Hall finds Chambers all alone on the sideline for a 45-yard reception that would have been a TD had Chambers not slightly stepped out of bounds--Cougar Tracks

*August 11: I'll quote this one directly from Cougar Tracks: "WR O'Neill Chambers was singled out by his position coach for his blocking in a drill that requires two wideouts to block downfield for a ball-carrying receiver, and was also applauded for a nice scoring catch on a goal line fade. He later recorded a significant gain on an end-around run, and you get the impression it may be tough to keep him off the field, his relative lack of playbook knowledge notwithstanding."

*August 11: Chambers works on the punt return team--SL Trib

*August 6: Coach Mendenhall says Chambers has "Tremendous talent" and could fill third WR role--SL Trib

*August 8: Chambers hauls in a 35-yard bomb from Hall that "pumped up the whole team"--SL Trib

*August 9: Chambers makes offensive "play of the game" during Saturday's scrimmage-- SL Trib

*August 11: Mendenhall says Chambers may return kickoffs, if he can learn his assignments well enough--DesNews

That's just a sampling of everything this little WR phenom has done in just a short time at BYU camp. This guy is making plays every single day. My feeling? If you can walk the walk, don't be afraid to talk the talk.

(But let me qualify that by saying this: Don't ever pick fights with your own team. The last thing we want at BYU is a junior Terrell Owens.)

Hell Week

As you can probably tell, this is a big week for sports bloggers. Not only are the Olympics in full swing, but the greatest time of the whole year (football season) is less than three paltry weeks away, and teams around the country are running two-a-day practices (typically they run these practices for a week, hence the title).

Thankfully for those who love reading any and every bit of useless commentary available on the Web, though, I am completely unable to do anything but sit and write at a computer.

That is why I have decided to embark on something that will truly test my physical, mental and typological capacities in a way they've never been tested before. This week I will put myself through the rigors of two-a-days.

In addition to my live Olympic blogging, readers of Adam's Sports Blog can expect two posts every single day about BYU football. You read that right: Two posts about BYU football every single day for the week of August 11-15 (I know it's not technically a complete week--we'll call it a work week).

Enjoy your week, sports fans, and go Cougs!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Live Blogging: One amazing race


Okay, I'm back for one more Olympic entry because I just witnessed what's sure to be one of the most exciting events of this year's Olympics: The men's 4 X 100 freestyle relay. Tell me you guys saw this one!

If you didn't let me fill you in: The French relay team made headlines recently by claiming they would "smash" the Americans in this event, but the US team consisting of Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak and one other guy whose name I can't find on the Internet anywhere had different plans. 

Phelps gave the US team an early lead, but the Frogs eventually overtook the US team during Jones' leg. They had such a lead that I'll admit: while watching the race, I thought the Frenchies would win for sure. 

Then Lezak, the American anchor who had a seemingly insurmountable deficit, dug deep into his fluid, spiney swimmer's soul and out-touched French anchor Alain Bernard to secure another gold medal for the USA.

It was pure sweetness. I raised both fists in triumph, and it was then that I experienced one of those truly special Olympic moments. It's nation vs. nation on the biggest stage in the universe, and it's time to rally behind your national heroes. Then we cheer in unison when we beat the crap out of the French. 

It's beautiful. 

One thing is sure: I'm glad I stayed up tonight. 

Live Blogging: Women's Gymnastics

Well it appears the loss of my knee is yet again your gain, as I'm coming at you live from the living room to blog about the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Today's competition: Women's gymnastics.

Wait... hear that? That's the sound of every Ute fan's ears simultaneously perking up. "Women's gymnastics?" they cry, "let me go get my pink Red Rocks jersey!"

For every other American, women's gymnastics is a once-every-four-years kind of thing. And now it's time for the Americans to storm the Chinese stronghold and kick some butt.

The Americans are working their floor exercises now, but I want to make just one comment about the Chinese squad. Have you seen these girls? They look about 12 hours removed from the fetus! The announcers say they're in their 20s, but come on. 20s? Do we really need to keep making excuses for the Chinese? Let's call a spade a spade: Chinese gymnasts are bred from birth and they will stop at nothing to achieve physical perfection to outdo western civilization. Even if it means stunting their growth or putting their entire social future in jeopardy. I mean, can you imagine these poor girls trying to pick up good looking Chinese guys a few years down the road? I don't think so, Xian Liang.



Okay, I better stop talking so candidly about the Chinese. They're probably monitoring this blog right now.

The US girls are having a tough time so far--they can't seem to stay in bounds. It's got to be disappointing, sure, but the way these announcers call it you'd think Iran has the bomb.

"OH MY GOODNESS! This is absolutely DEVASTATING for the US team! Ladies and gentlemen hide your children because this mistake will unleash a pestilence on this country the likes of which you've never seen!!"

If you haven't guessed by now, I think gymnastics is a big fat joke. Don't get me wrong, I think it takes incredible athleticism to jump around and contort in interesting ways, but the sport is severely flawed and that's putting it lightly.

Why? The whole competition is left to human judgment. Humans, by definition, are imperfect. Therefore, their judgments are imperfect. I witnessed this firsthand when I accompanied my wife to the BYU/Utah gymnastics meet earlier this year. Utah won, but I swear they only won because they were highly ranked at the time and they were favored to win. Every single gymnast did the exact same thing, and yet Utah seemed to score higher on every event. Why? HUMANS. Dang humans.

In fact, I bet these "judges" already know the winner before the competition even starts. It's a joke.

Anyway, it's back to the floor exercises. Not the most exciting part of the competition. I'm more of an uneven bars kind of guy.

Woops- we just broke away to watch Bob Costas conduct a quick interview with G.W. Bush. Good to see the two most important men in my life right now getting along so well.

...okay they're still talking. Let me take this time to talk a bit about USA vs. China earlier this morning in basketball. Anyone see that game? Three words, my friends: Deron Freaking Williams. The guy may not get a lot of playing time for team USA, but he's a freaking playmaker. You have no idea how jacked I am that he's a Jazzman.

I'm loving the Olympics these days guys. In fact, you might say I got my ACL surgery at precisely the right time. Now I'll be able to catch all the action from the worlds of fencing, water polo, swimming and tae kwon doe. It's going to be a great recovery period friends. Look for more updates soon.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Live Blogging: The Olympics



There's so much more to me than BYU sports, and I hope you've all realized that by now. Granted, BYU sports is the T-bone steak in my sports feast, but don't for one second think I don't care just as much about the mashed potatoes and creamed spinach of the athletic banquet I call my life. (In this analogy, the side dishes are other sports. You know, curling, swimming, stuff like that.)

For instance, right now, with my leg slightly elevated, I happen to be watching the 2008 Summer Olympics on NBC.

And wouldn't you know it? The Chinese just cut the National Anthem short during Michael Phelps' first gold medal ceremony. I was just waiting for the Chinese to pull some kind of Anti-American crap; I just never thought they would sink that low.


Phelps, by the way, won the gold in the 400m individual medley. The guy's a machine. I have a special respect for these amphibo-humans, but Phelps is especially adept at becoming almost eerily fish-like.

Earlier tonight I watched the men's gymnastics team. Gymnastics guys are funny to me, because every serious male gymnast seems to cross a certain threshold in their lives. When they're little kids they're always mocked as little nancy-boy gymnastics pansies. Then something happens. Somewhere along the line they stop being little maries, and the start their new lives as cyborg he-men with arms the size of redwoods and ropey backs that look like Amazonian jungle vines. Gymnastics guys are kind of like collegiate male cheerleaders in that regard: You're probably better off just not messing with them, even if their chosen lifestyle isn't deemed all that "manly."


Okay- Katie Hoff just got the bronze in the latest swimming event. I didn't catch the specific event because I was too busy coming up with snappy lines about male gymnasts. Now it's back to the studio with Bob Costas. I'm a fan of Costas. What do you guys think? I've heard mixed reviews, but Bobby always seems to bring it home in the clutch. He reminds me of a sporty Michael J. Fox, and if you know me, you know I'm all about Teen Wolf.

Plus, Costas knocked it out of the park when he did a guest spot on News Radio (Way underrated show, by the way).

Okay- it's time for the Chinese men's gymnastics team. Watching these guys I can almost see the athletic sweatshops behind the bamboo curtain churning out drone after gymnastic drone programmed for one purpose: Make Mao proud. I can only imagine what happens to these poor athletes when they screw up.

Coach: "Those rings moved a little too much during your last routine, Xia Xinlang."
Xia: "I understand. I feel great shame for the dishonor I bring to your practice."
Coach: "Prepare yourself for the ultimate punishment!"
[coach proceeds to jam bamboo shoots in gymnast's eyelids]

Wow. Did I just write that? Blame the pain medication, people.

Anyway, watch for some more live blogs from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing soon!

The road to recovery

Some of you may know that I tore my ACL back in April of this year. It's been an annoying experience to say the very least, but Thursday Aug. 7 I took a major step on the road to recovery.

That's right. I tore it in April but didn't have my knee repaired until August. There are several reasons. One: my doctor recommended waiting a few weeks, two: I was slated to begin an internship in New York City from April to the end of June, and three: I had family in for the majority of July, so I didn't want to miss out on our crazy family activities.

Well now I'm back from NYC, the family is all gone, and my knee has successfully been sliced and diced.

The procedure included removing a part of my patellar tendin and using it to create a new ACL. Apparently when an ACL is torn, as mine was, it is irreparable. Therefore a patient needs a new ligament from either the patellar, the hamstring or a cadavar. I chose the petellar because it is a "bone on bone" ligament which promotes quicker healing time and stronger performance when healed. For more information, read this.

I know this is probably all pretty boring to everyone, but I found the whole process extremely interesting.

My doctor is Kirt Kimball, who also happens to be the team physician for both the BYU Cougars and the Orem Owlz.

Anyway, allow me to tell you a bit about the operation. I was admitted into the pre-op room at about 10:30 on Thursday, August 7 (which, consequently, forced me to miss BYU's one and only open football practice--a fact which still makes me angry two days later). My roomates turned out to be some kids with tonsilitis, so I got a good share of audio from the Disney Series "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody."

Soon my leg was shaved by two wise-cracking orderlies and I was asked to sign my right knee with a marker so the doctors didn't accidentally work on the wrong knee. It happens, you know.

The anesthesioligist entered my curtained-off area to explain the different drugs I would take to knock me out, and then asked if I wanted a nerve block. The nerve block would deaden my entire right leg for about 12 hours so I wouldn't feel any pain. Of course I answered yes. Who wouldn't?

I was wheeled over into the pre-op room where different nurses asked me the very same questions about 17,000 times: What is your name? What is your birthday? Why are you here? I guess they did it all in an effort to make sure they're doing the right thing to the right person. Which begs the question: "Do these guys make that many mistakes?"

The anesthesiologist made his appearance again and loaded a needle the size of a howitzer. That was the nerve block, and suddenly I was having second thoughts. Before I could protest he pounded that massive needle into my pelvis area and I'll be darned if I couldn't feel a thing in my right leg.

The next thing I remember I was wheeled into the operating room... then blackness.

I woke up and it was all over. It was crazy. My leg was bandaged, I was no longer hooked up to an IV and I was grinning from ear to ear. I was so relaxed, in fact, that I forgot to breathe. Honest to goodness--the nurses had to come in and remind me to breathe. But I was having too good a time to breathe. Life's a party, right?

But I guess people need to breathe. It's vital, you might say, so "the man" had to stick a tube in my nose to keep me from relaxing myself to death until I proved that I would be willing to breathe on my own.

I decided to take ownership of my breathing from that point on, and pretty soon I was given clearance to leave the hospital and start my recovery at home.

That first day was a little rough, I'm not going to lie. The anesthesia wreaked havoc on my inestines, and I couldn't keep anything down. Not even the calming herbal tea prepared with love by my sweet mother. It was so bad, in fact, that even the slightest movement made the yak. For instance, I was laying down for a while and decided to sit in an upright position: ralph. I got up to use the bathroom: ralph. It was revolting.

Thankfully, though, I was given some very powerful drugs that have the ability to destroy nausia in favor of unconsciousness. Needless to say, I've been sleeping very well lately.

Yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) have been promising, but painful. I started physical therapy on Friday, and I'm really starting to miss that old nerve block. It's actually a lot harder to move around when every slight shift sends excruciating pain through my leg.

The hardest thing, though, has been missing BYU camp updates. I checked the computer for the first time today and I had over 100 stories to read about BYU football. I didn't read them all, but I felt guilty. I did catch the bit from O'Neill Chambers, though (which I don't think is a big deal), and practice seems to be getting better and better.

Anyway, just wanted to give a little update on the ACL. I'm recovering well, and I'm back on the blogosphere. Look for daily updates, because frankly: I've got nothing better to do.

Also, be sure to check out BYUCougarCrazies.blogspot.com where editor-in-chief Trevor has promised one post every day from the Cougar Crazy staff leading up to gameday on August 30. As one of the Crazies, I can promise I will be writing content for BYUCougarCrazies to help Trevor meet that chellenge.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and keep me in your prayers/voodoo ceremonies/spirit quests.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Write it out: The Year of the Jersey


I recently made this purchase, and I'm hereby declaring 2008 the year of the jersey. If you want to find me this season look for the tall, superfluously handsome man with No. 15 on his chest screaming like a donkey in the student section.

My purchase prompted the question: What is the attire of choice for my fellow Cougar-obsessed? Are you a "T-shirt is enough" kind of guy, or do you experiment with paints and such? I want to know, if for no other reason than to get you thinking about it. Proper fandom takes planning, after all.

Outfits to consider:

*Blue coveralls
*Blue headgear
*Blue makeup
*Blue cape
*Blue spongy oversized hands
*Blue growl towels

(Note: the words "pink" or "pastel" are were not mentioned for a reason)

Please, share your thoughts. What will you be wearing to BYU games this season?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bronco's coins

I suspect you have all heard of what transpired early Saturday morning (August 2, 2008).

If you haven't, I'll tell you. The team spent the night in LaVell Edwards stadium that Friday, and then early Saturday morning the team loaded into buses and ran up the side of Y mountain to overlook the valley and, among other things, an illuminated LaVell Edwards Stadium.

There Coach Mendenhall gave every player a coin with an engraved Y flag and the BYU football team mission statement. Coach Mendenhall instructed the players to keep the coin on them at all times, and he was serious. He punished the team yesterday when six players were caught without their coins.

Civilians like myself didn't really understand the significance of the coin. However, I was very happy to get a little more insight into the tradition from this post on Cougarboard.com.

It appears Mendenhall is embracing a time-honored military tradition, and hopefully the dividends will be a more unified, mission-driven team. Thanks to poster geebeeyou12 for the insight.

Oh, and here's a sweet picture from the BYU Pressbox blog. It's Austin Collie giving young O'Neill Chambers some pointers.

More Washington news

The Huskies will be without their leading tackler, according to this article from ESPN. Thanks to Brett for the tip.

Washington's defense certainly looks depleted, with a young defensive backfield and now without their leading tackler. This game should be a shootout, but methinks BYU's defense will ultimately prevail.

Monday, August 04, 2008

ASB's fall camp workout schedule

Fall camp is a time of preparation for football players. They come together as a team under the scorching August sun after a long off season and they practice, train and learn. They sweat football. They bleed football. And their dedication is rewarded with success, praise and confidence.

As fans, I find it only fitting that we put ourselves through a similar training regimen. Maybe not physically, so much, but mentally.

That is why I would like to introduce to you my daily information-gathering routine, designed to stimulate the cerebellum and invigorate the football centers of the brain.

A lot of stuff happens during fall camp, so we as fans need to be extra savvy when it comes to gathering our information. The casual fan will read a story in the morning newspaper, but if you want to reach the next level of fandemonium, you need to explore deeper levels of the media; the only limit on the information available is your own imagination.

Rookies should start with Web sites like CougarFan.com or CougarChampion.com. These sites will do some of the gathering for you. They package stories from local papers like the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune and the Provo Daily Herald in one daily dose of Cougar-mania. They also gather news from the media outlets of BYU's opponents, which is what makes Web sites like these especially valuable. If I want to read about the Coug's pounding of the UNLV Rebels from a Las Vegas Review-Journal point of view, for instance, I can find it on Cougarfan.com. Good stuff.

The only problem is they can be a little slow to update sometimes. When the urge to read the latest news out of camp hits me, I don't want to be caught behind the whims of some computer science graduate student.

That's why I generally use an RSS feed reader instead. I personally use Google Reader, but there are certainly other options for those of you who hate the ease and convenience of Google programs. If you want more information about feed readers, click here. And here's a nice write up from one of my pals, Dan The Man.

Once you set up your reader, you'll be able to subscribe to feeds from sources like the aforementioned newspapers directly. This is where I read BYU-related stories from the major Utah newspapers, as well as other outlets like KSL, Total Blue Sports, Real Football 365, and a recent find, the ESPN Football Independents blog (which includes news from every non-BCS school, and frequently mentions BYU).

As mentioned, feed readers pick up content from blogs--notably, The Deseret News BYU blog, the Salt Lake Tribune BYU blog and KSL's "Cougar Tracks" with Greg Wrubell. Blogs tend to give the most entertaining and inside information, I find, and since I can't be there myself (thanks a lot, Jeff Reynolds. I know you're reading this), I rely on these fine reporters to bring me the news in a timely manner.

It's also a chance to get reports of the same practice from different sources. This may not sound like a big deal, but you'd be surprised how differently reporters choose to cover the same event. For instance, each of these reporters attended practice No. 2 earlier today, but Deseret News writer Jeff Call talked about how Bronco's praise may have hindered progress in practice, Salt Lake Tribune's Jay Drew wrote at length about Fui Vakapuna's disappointing rehab schedule and KSL's Greg Wrubell was the only one to mention Center Tom Sorenson's absence from practice. Reading all three reports makes me that much more interesting when I talk about practice later with my wife.

One strong recommendation: Don't miss out on Cougar Tracks (Wrubell's blog on KSL.com). Wrubell shines like the polar star during fall camp, and he's just as reliable. He gives great practice analysis and uploads several interviews with players and coaches a day.

My final destination is Cougarboard.com. This is the unofficial fan message board for BYU sports. It's mostly just filled with rumors, speculation, inflammatory remarks and Internet dorks pretending to be cool (I should know, right?), but every once in a while you'll stumble on some truly golden inside information or stimulating conversation. It's like a hostess fruit pie: mostly bad for you, but every once in a while you'll bite into a nugget of fresh fruit. Fresh, obviously, being a relative term.

So to sum up, every day during fall camp you should be getting your BYU news from these sources (in order of importance): Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Daily Herald, Cougar Tracks, SL Trib BYU blog, D-News BYU blog, Total Blue Sports, ESPN Independents and Cougarboard.com (And even that's not all. If you still want more, email me at AdamsSportsBlog@gmail.com and I'll tell you some other blogs I follow).

Just... try to refrain from doing it at work. You'd be surprised how much time you can waste.