Steve Clarkson

Sep 18

FIGHT ON! The Spirit Of Troy.

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Sep 16

My Week #2 Top NFL Quarterbacks

  1. Peyton Manning…Well again Peyton seems to be primed to hold on this top spot for a while, as he continues to dominate the regular season.
  2. Phillip Rivers has simply been amazing after two games, and the San Diego Chargers could easily be 2-0 if not for the defense in week one against the Arizona Cardinals.  
  3. Aaron Rodgers was at his best after falling behind the resurgent New York Jets .  The speed and accuracy of Rodgers mid range passing is second to none!  
  4. Jay Cutler has never been given proper credit for being an NFL iron man, but after taking a horrific shot against the 49ers, AND still stay in the game?!  Not to mention his leadership under duress was a sight for my throwback eyes.
  5. Nick Foles is quickly becoming this decades’ Dan Fouts with his ability to spread the ball accurately to a variety of receivers.

 

Sep 15

Jerry Freaking Neuheisel

From my perspective.  This weekend has left me shaking my head.  First, the good.  Talk about happy endings.  ”Jerry Freaking Neuheisel!!”  

#11 was born for this very moment.  ”I’m so pumped, and excited to watch this all unfold,” said head coach Jim Mora, who showed America exactly what your supposed to do when life gives you lemons.  This is not the first time Coach Mora has displayed such great leadership.

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Remember last year while playing at Nebraska just after the death of Nate Pasquale, UCLA got off to a very slow start.  Then at halftime Mora reminded his team how best to honor their fallen teammates’ memory with a fiery speech.  UCLA went on to blow Nebraska away.

Then…this Saturday happened.  UCLA’s unquestioned leader goes down, and when it seemed UCLA’s season was headed down the drain as only Jim Mora could do…he delivers again!  Jerry Freaking Neuheisel is going to win the game!  Are you kidding me??  (That is what Mora told a FOX sideline reporter on a live television broadcast.)  Apparently not!  UCLA wins 20-17 to the Texas Longhorns.  

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Sep 13

Friday Night Lights In Southern California

Some of my thoughts about Friday under the lights in Southern California.  

1) Just how good is Mater Dei?  Last week they simply boat raced Corona Centennial, who last night almost beat Bishop Gorman (number one team in the country according to USA TODAY)

2)  Long Beach Poly may be the most difficult team to beat in the new PAC 5 Division, now that they finally have a college caliber quarterback, Josh Love who is a 6’2 215 pound senior.  If you are a college looking for a great prospect, hear he is!

3)  Speaking of quarterbacks…Jack Lowary of Mater Dei High School reminds me a great deal of Matt Cassel former USC QB now playing like a PRO BOWLER with the Minnesota Vikings.

4)  Loyola HS playing a night game on their campus is an…”Its ABOUT TIME!!!..moment.

5)  Head coach Casey Clausen is on his way to being named Coach Of The Year.  People are now starting to fear a program that…before he got there had just won probably 2 games in a Decade!  They’re off to a 3-0 start with a rising STAR quarterback, Tristan Gebbia Class of 2017.

6)  Thousand Oaks Highschool quarterback Max Gilliam, Class Of 2016 is a name to remember!  Thousand Oaks is now 3-0 and he’s a large part of that.

7)  If you’re a fan of Hart Highschool’s QB Brady White…Then you’ll love his younger brother Brevin White, freshmen quarterback at Mission Hills Alemany HS.

8)  Lastly…Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas.  You remember him?  The 8th grader who Steve Sarkisian (the new Head Coach at USC offered while at University Of Washington)  If you haven’t seen him play, then go to the kitchen and get the popcorn out and GOOGLE this Human Highlight…Enough said!

Sep 11

My Week #1 Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks

  1.  Peyton Manning: He seems to own this spot week after week and this week is no different.  At the age of 38 he still seems to be evolving…it seems he reinvents himself with quicker decisions making it almost impossible to get to him before the ball is gone. 
  2. Ben Roethelisberger: With his week one performance against Cleveland brought back memories…He reminded us all how gifted and physically challenging he is to defend.  Which was very evident on the final game winning drive!
  3. Russell Wilson: To actually think that some thought he was just a game manager?!  However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  His ability to throw from the pocket and extend plays outside of it, make him one the best in the game today.
  4. Matt Ryan: Is this the year that he finally is mentioned amoung the NFL’s elite quarterbacks?  Well, if his game against the New Orleans Saints is any indicator then the answer is a resounding yes!  He finally showed why the Atlanta Falcons rewarded “Matty Ice” with that fat contract. 
  5. This may surprise many, but making my TOP 5 this week is Matt Cassel of the Minnesota Vikings.  Going back to the pre-season in which he had to compete with first round pick Teddy Brigewater, Matt Cassel has been the most consistent player in the league and in my opinion when given playmakers to work with he had proven to be a solid starting quarterback.  I think he has a very good shot at making the Pro Bowl this year.

Sep 04

Trendsetter For This NFL Season: Chip Kelly

Looking into my crystal ball…

I forecast that this years’ most interesting man WILL NOT be “Johnny Football”, but the NFL’S newest genius.  This trendsetter is none other than Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.

 Every decade has brought a unique innovator, responsible for some of the greatest coaching trees the NFL has ever seen; Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, Bill Walsh, and Bill Parcells are most credited for how championship teams are built, until now.

Chip Kelly I believe has the chance to take the game to a place no one ever thought imaginable.  It was just a few years ago while at the University of Oregon that his quarterbacks led an offense only seen on EA SPORTS VIDEO GAMES.  The big question, however was will it ever work in the NFL?  Most believed no!  Simply because the quarterbacks would get killed with the simplistic blocking schemes used to run Chip Kelly’s system.  The thing most people who watched from a far assumed was that it was based on the the quarterback having to expose himself.  This was assumed because of unnecessary hits, due to various zone read packages, and the extremely fast pace in which they play.  

The truth is that the quarterback rarely runs, and the system is built largely with the the ability to set up the pass.  This would be set up by a very effective running game designed to lure more defenders in the box.  Once this happens and you start playing more single high coverages, they know what your going to do before you do.  This is a huge advantage not just for coach Kelly, but any play caller.

The biggest  concern with Chips’ offense is the number of plays ran in practice and in games.  The stress it would leave on older players with less numbers to work with.  After all, in college you could have as many as 104 players to get thru practice, with the average age of 19 years old.  In the NFL your working with a 53 man roster with a average age of 29 (just an estimated guess).  

The key to the Philadelphia Eagles this year will be Chip’s ability to create miss matches with timely substitutions, and always staying one step ahead of the defense.  To truly be successful at running this scheme…positive yardage on first down is the key.  This means 4 yards or more.  By doing this, it puts defensive coordinators in a huge bind.

(For example…When to employ or not to employ Nickel and Dime packages.  Whatever the defensive scheme, Chip has a counter for it!  If your caught with a dime package on a rushable down your now having defensive backs playing in the box against running formations i.e. "fish out of water!")

The biggest reason I believe Chip Kelly will succeed will be his ability with his offensive schematic to take ordinary quarterbacks and have them play better than most experts ever thought they were capable of.  Even with all of Chips offensive innovations, the thing he will have the biggest impact will be on the defensive side of the ball. Now that Chip Kelly’s offense are being imitated he better than anyone knows what it takes to make his offense slow down,and that’s a huge advantage! 

Sep 03

Week #1 Top 10 College Team Line-up

Every week I’ll post my top ten college football teams based on that week’s play only.  My top ten will not have a roll over effect!  In other words it would be entirely possible for my number one team from the week before not even to make my top ten the following week.  Even if my number one team at the time was victorious that particular weekend.  Stay tuned throughout the season!

1. Georgia

2. Texas A&M

3. Florida State

4. USC

5. Alabama

6.Oregon

7. Stanford

8. Baylor

9. Michigan State

10. UCLA 

Come back next week!  Any input?  Feel free to tweet us!

Sep 02

My Takeaways Of Saturday’s SoCal Football: USC & UCLA

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USC

In one word…Wow!  I loved their sure dominance in how they handled all the distractions of this week.  They pretty much dismantled Fresno State…I know, after all it was Fresno State we’re talking about, but opening games are usually the easiest to struggle with.  Just ask Alabama, Florida State and UCLA!

Game Poppers:

The biggest thing about USC that jumped out at me was their team speed!  As only Robert Dinero would say…”This team has great Ju Ju!”  AKA…Ju Ju Smith, one of a handful of true freshmen who have tons of speed to burn.  The speed on this SC team was evident everywhere!  Cody Kessler was simply brilliant in his new coaches’ offense, and showed great ability getting the ball off quickly and accurately to 9 different receivers.  

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 UCLA: 

I know it’s only one game, and some may be concerned about what they witnessed Saturday playing against University of Virginia.  I want to tell you all to pump your breaks on the panic button!  This is the first year in my lifetime of 53 years that UCLA has come into a football season with so much hype and expectation. 

Bad: 

The obvious bad news is a very ugly win…and I’m being kind with that!  My biggest concern for this UCLA team is a lack of real speed at the WR position.  Also, the fact that your QB Brett Hundley remains your best and leading rusher?!  

The Bright Side: 

I’m going to give UCLA a pass on this one, and so should the supporters/hater, this is why. 

  1. For about 4 weeks now they’ve been hearing on ESPN and other media platforms how they are the best team in college football, and how they now own the city of Los Angeles.   
  2. Jim Mora is exactly what the doctor ordered for UCLA. This will be a great teaching aid for the coach to get after his troops for expecting just to show up and have their opponents roll over.
  3. UCLA’s defense was outstanding, and adding 3 touchdowns to the board!  Myles Jack is a lock for the Butkus award, and if he continues to play like this they may have to change the name of this award to…The Jack ‘N’ the Box Award.  Yeah, I know that was a cheap plug!
  4. A few things to consider for which this game was played. 

A: UCLA played a game at 9am!  PST!  

B: They had to travel across the country and play on the road in extreme humid conditions, which usually takes days to get used to. 

C:  On the other side Virginia was really prepared and certainly was tired of hearing how they were just road kill on the way to Dallas. 

D: There is a whole season ahead of you to turn things around…