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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud—JR's column on the sports stories and personalities…

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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, January 04, 2014


Thinking out loud…and wondering what my New Years’ resolution(s) might be for 2014…

• I’ve gone back and forth over the past few years over what I’d really like to do…what I’d like to see or cover…and where I’d like to be when it comes to sports and real life. Sports aren’t everything in life, but for someone like me, they sure are a big hunk of what I do. I’ll share a few “resolute” thoughts below, and hope you do the same…

• It seems that Providence isn’t the only program to have a team suspension hurt its chances…the defending national champ Louisville Cardinals dismissed forward Chane Behanan earlier this week for a violation of university policy. It’s the second time since the Cards won the title last spring that’s he’s been kicked off of the team, as he was reinstated as this season got started. Now, it appears that the inaugural season for the American Athletic Conference has no clear-cut favorite at the top, with UConn and Memphis looming as real title threats...

• Back-to-back overtime losses for the Friars show they’re certainly able to play with anyone on their schedule. It also shows they may not be able to beat anyone left on their schedule, unless Bryce Cotton gets some help…

GoLocalProv’s Jack Andrade wrote a critique of URI’s first season-and-a-half under Dan Hurley this week, drawing some parallels to the problems facing Ed Cooley at Providence. Suffice to say in both instances, you need players to win. Right now, it’s simple. There just aren’t enough players on either campus to reach the coaches’, or the fans’ expectations…

• How’s brother Bobby Hurley faring? In his first year as head coach at Buffalo, the Bulls are 7-4 through Friday’s game against South Dakota State, heading into MAC play against Northern Illinois. Wins over St. Bonaventure, at Drexel and Robert Morris…plus an OT loss at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to Manhattan…seem to show he’s got a grip on running his own show…

• Did anyone notice that the Celtics’ assigned Marshon Brooks to the Maine Red Claws of the D League earlier this week? The team announced the move as a “great opportunity.” For whom? While the move on the surface seems to be a certain demotion, Brooks has only played in nine games for Boston this season…and there have been rumors that he and coach Brad Stevens haven’t exactly been ‘best buddies…’

Tweet of the Week – from @ESPNStatsInfo: “2013 was the highest scoring season in NFL history (46.8 PPG) ... previous mark was 46.5 PPG (1948 season)…”

Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods (cleveland.com)

• The start of the pro golf season begins in Hawaii this week, and also has Tiger Woods turning 38 years old. Where did the time go? Interesting side note to Tiger’s birthday…he has 14 major titles in 64 career starts – the same amount as Jack Nicklaus on his 38th birthday, 14 titles in 64 starts…

I resolve to shut up more this year. That is sure to make one or two of you very happy. Haven’t you noticed that as people get older, they have a tendency to offer their opinion – whether asked for it or not – over the course of common conversation? I need work on “getting in, and getting out” of conversations, involving sports or anything else, without baring my soul…

Black Monday struck again this year, and struck hard the day after the NFL regular season came to a halt. Detroit, Tampa, Washington, Minnesota and Cleveland fired head coaches. Of note, what could Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano have been thinking when he left Rutgers a couple of years ago? He could have been “coach for life” at RU, considering what he had done to make that program relevant within the Big East. Now, he’s looking for work. Would the State U of NJ consider bringing him back for their inaugural campaign in the Big Ten? They probably should…

• The Browns want to talk with Josh McDaniels? Yes, please do…

• How about the fate/luck of former Patriots’ assistant coach Bill O’Brien, who has been successful as head coach at Penn State since taking over the program in disgrace after the entire Paterno/Sandusky scandal? After a couple of solid, if not spectacular years with sanctions piled high and deep on the program like NY deli pastrami on rye bread…O’Brien is the new head coach of the Houston Texans. The key, apparently, to an agreement after only two years in Happy Valley? The reduction in his contract buy-out for an NFL job…reduced last year by two-thirds after he agreed to return to Penn State following his first year…

• I hesitate to say it, but the Patriots might be like butter…’cuz they’re on a roll. However, it’s a cautionary roll, with so many injuries to key players still a factor. What this team has done is finally learn to play within itself with no big expectations…and the players have earned their stripes because of the increased reps. That, and dumb play calls on offense have been reduced from 6-7 per game to 1 or 2…

LeGarrette Blount got a late-game bear hug from Bill Belichick in the waning moments of the 34-20 win over Buffalo. Did you see it happen? In a driving rain, Belichick was applauding his troops, Blount came out of the game to the sideline and the two fell into a congratulatory embrace. A rare occurrence, indeed…as Blount’s performance (189 rush yards, 145 return yards) was equally rare…

• He still doesn’t have the burst I saw from Corey Dillon a few years back, but Blount ripped right through the Bills’ defenders and simply kept his legs moving on the slick Gillette Stadium turf…which is a main reason why I’m getting a bit higher on the Pats’ chances to succeed in the playoffs. Weather can be a great equalizer, and Blount is a difference-maker in weather – a brutally hard runner, very hard to tackle…

I resolve to stay involved with local youth sports. Having coached my boys through years of baseball, now that they’re long gone from the house, I’m going to look for an opportunity to teach, to show, to explain what I know about the sport…with the hope that some young player somewhere will catch the same bug I did. And pay it forward…

• And of course, the AFC is wide, wide open. You could make a case for any of the six teams in the playoffs to win the conference title, even #6 seed San Diego…since they arguably have the most momentum going into the post season. Like the positioning of the Patriots at #2, who need to remember just one, simple thing right now – do your job. The rest will take care of itself…

• How about some superlatives that might have been lost in the post-game rain at Foxboro…NFL record nine 1st round byes…1st AFC team to earn 4 straight byes…1 of 3 NFL teams to be undefeated at home this season…a Pats’ single-game record of 334 all-purpose yards by Blount…189 rush yards the most since 1998…Stephen Gostkowski’s 158 season points and 38 field goals #1 in franchise history…and Julian Edelman became the 3rd player with 100 catches in a season, the 10th with 1000+ receiving yards…

• Anyone else think “oh no, not again” when Logan Mankins went down against Buffalo during Blount’s first TD run, and struggled to get off of the field? An ankle sprain wasn’t about to keep him out – he later returned to the game, prompting TB12 to say he’s never seen anyone tougher. “He’s second to none,” said your QB. Even Bill Belichick said he was “surprised” to hear trainer Jim Whelan say “Logan’s back.” Whoa

• And one more for all of the haters…New England has now reached the NFL playoffs five straight years, the longest streak in the league. Yes, Steve in Fall River, they haven’t won a Super Bowl in that time, either…but it’s hard to argue against the dominance. Elite? Certainly. Dynastic? Perhaps, if the year ends in New Jersey’s Meadowlands…


I resolve to start a campaign to make fishing an Olympic sport. As the winter Olympics near, it seems that just about everything man can create in his own imagination is an Olympic sport (Bobsleigh? Canoe sprinting?), so why not a dose of realism? Isn’t fishing universally “played” in just about every country? Bassmasters of the world, unite! How about Olympic ice fishing? The on-ice shacks could be decorated in country colors. Hey, we watch soccer…we will watch fishing…

Not for nuthin’…but coming out of non-conference play, the new Big East had eight of its 10 teams ranked in kenpom.com’s Top 68. Of course, the league won’t send eight of its 10 teams to the NCAA tournament…but it’s worth noting in terms of the relative strength of the league, compared to the ACC or the American. The ACC has nine teams in the Top 68, but they also have 15 conference members (with ex-Big East members Syracuse, Pitt & Notre Dame) this year. The American, with 10 teams this season – including former Big East partners UConn, USF, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville – has five…

• Whatever happened to…Tim Tebow? After his cut from the Patriots following the pre-season last summer, he stayed in football shape hoping for a call to play for someone. It never came. But a call did come from ESPN this week, and they hired Tebow to be an analyst for their new SEC Network

This is just downright funny, a little bit sad…and yes, a little profane. The sports website Deadspin captured the 2013 year in “cursing.” Might want to tone down the audio for this one…

• File this under 'something I never thought I would see' – Carmelo Anthony’s face on a deodorant stick. Does this mean he doesn’t smell, or is it just the Knicks that stink?

I resolve to find more time for naps in 2014. Naps are good. Naps are necessary. Am I showing my age?

• Did you see this score crawl across the bottom of your screen this week? Southern 116, Champions Baptist College 12. A 104-point win. Two questions…why, and just what is Champions Baptist?

• For the record, they’ve probably received more publicity for this “game” than they have ever received before. CBC trailed Southern 44-0 at one point in the first half (an NCAA record for a lead before an opponent scored), and also has losses this year of 108-54, 108-48 and 101-38 to other DI teams. They are members of something known as the Association of Christian College Athletics, based in Hot Springs, Arkansas…with an enrollment of 250 students. That’s right, 250. Playing against DI teams. Don’t blame them for the money grab – getting that game-check guarantee from the home team – blame those DI schools scheduling them in the first place…

• Bad basketball isn’t limited to schools who are in over their heads…take Washington State, for instance. In the Pac-12, right? A major school, right? Alma mater of Drew Bledsoe? They managed just seven (7) points in the first half against Arizona Thursday night. I know Arizona is #1, but seven points? 2-for-21 shooting? 11 turnovers? And those players have scholarships…

• As an alumnus of the University of Texas, I’m proud of the football program overall under Mack Brown’s guidance for 16 seasons. The 2005 national title game win over USC was one of the greatest games EVER. But the time for change had come, Mack had become somewhat set in his ways – as the late Darrell Royal had become when he stepped down in 1976 – and ultimately became a victim of his successes in Austin. That’s the thing about Texans, and Texas fans…they sure appreciate you when you win, but when you keep winning and then start losing, memories are short. Very short. Just ask Rick Barnes

• Barnes, by the way, is winning again this year…at 11-2 heading into conference play with a Longhorn team no one expected much from. Perhaps there’s still a little fight left in the former Friar head coach…

• I went whitewater rafting last summer in northern California, and had an absolute blast. So this year, I resolve to keep the relatively “extreme” outdoor sports theme alive, and do something different. Like zip lining. Is that a sport or just a really dumb idea for those of us who get agita on a step-ladder?

• Mommas, if you want your babies to grow up and be a quarterback, you might consider a move to Austin, Texas. And more specifically, enroll your prized possession at Westlake High School. Why? ‘Cuz they grow QB’s there. In the NFC Wild Card round, Philadelphia’s Nick Foles and New Orleans’ Drew Brees will be leading their teams in the playoffs, and both attended (and played for, 10 years apart) Westlake HS…

• That, ironically, might also have something to do with why Mack Brown is leaving the University of Texas. Neither of those two QB’s was offered a scholarship to play for the hometown team…Foles went to Arizona, Brees to Purdue…

• Doesn’t the phrase “bowl week” conjure something up that seems at least a little bit exciting? Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a little let down…through the first 19 bowl games, the average margin of victory was 14 points. Not much excitement there…and with more bowl games coming to a TV set near you in the future, it will be harder to create compelling games with conferences tied into pre-existing contracts. It’ll end up an example of what we seem to do best from time to time – mess up a good thing…

• At least the Rose Bowl was a good game this year…but it will be the last of the traditional Rose match-ups between the Pac-12 and Big 10, if that means anything anymore. Next year in the new playoff format, the “granddaddy of them all” is merely relegated to semi-final status in the chase for the ultimate #1. Maybe that’s ok in your book, but I don’t like it. College football was built into the monster it has become on tradition…and that tradition has been waylaid by the chase for the almighty $$$...

Uh oh…don’t look now, but there’s already grumbling going on in the happy house known as the expanded ACC. Syracuse athletic director Darryl Gross isn’t happy with the current 8-game football schedule, since it keeps some teams from regularly playing in big, eastern cities like Boston and Miami. Apparently, the issue will be discussed at league meetings later this month, according to an email obtained by the Associated Press. When do the southerners get upset with the Yankee carpetbaggers and kick them out?

• The nationally 4th-ranked Providence hockey Friars play their first-ever game outdoors Saturday in the Frozen Fenway extravaganza against Merrimack. High times for Nate Leaman’s Friars, who will miss goaltender Jon Gillies’ presence between the pipes. Gillies is with Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Sweden…

• There. Done. One resolution completed. Unsubscribing to emails that make me want to buy things that I cannot afford…or are just plain stupid. Who really needs a tomato plant that grows upside down?

Dennis Rodman’s “bromance” with North Korean psychopath/dictator Kim Jong Un simply defies description. Kim had his uncle, #2 in command Jang Song Thaek, executed by stripping him and five aides naked, and throwing them in a cage with 20 starving hounds. The entire process took about an hour, according to reports. It’s what is known as “quan jue,” or execution by dogs. Rodman has said his buddy is a “good guy.” And he wants to teach this barbaric, backwards country and whack job leader-for-life the finer points of basketball?

• Some of the best news made in 2013 might have been news best left forgotten, at least for these reporters. Too funny not to share, it just shows in all good things a little humor must fall…

This blooper reel features sports-related gaffes from 2013 for your viewing/listening pleasure…my particular favorite involves the St. Louis Cardinals’ radio broadcast during the World Series with Kolten Wong front-and-center…but what’s this? Sports edging over into the real world? Yup. You’ll notice a couple of familiar boo-boos that you’ll undoubtedly have seen before, maybe even just a few minutes ago. They’ve worked their way onto the “favorites” list…


• One thing I’d definitely love to see happen in 2014…Johnny “Football” Manziel drafted by the New York J-E-T-S. Please football gods, make this happen? That is all

• Know what I like best and least about snowstorms? Watching the unbelievably asinine television coverage from the local TV stations. Oh. My. It’s snowing. Winter storm “Hercules,” how you can survive the storm…details at 11! You’ll probably have to shovel. Or plow. Take care folks, it’s slick out there. It’s cold, too. Really? This is New England, not Florida…it snows. Get. Over. It. Already. And leave some bread and milk for the rest of us, will ya? Just sayin’

• My buddy Statbeast sez he gets confused when it comes to parking bans. During the first storm this year, he was told to park on the even-numbered side of the street. During the next storm, he was told to park on the odd-numbered side. And while listening to the latest parking ban details on the radio, his power suddenly went off. Not knowing what to do with his car, Mrs. Statbeast offered a suggestion: “just park it in the garage…”

My biggest resolution for 2014? I suppose it’s the desire to continue understanding the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad…

• From the mailbag this week – Marty from New Hampshire checks in via Facebook: “From this point forward…the defense has to stop the running games and start making turnovers if they want to be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs…” Marty: Absolutely. This is the #1 point of emphasis for the Patriots, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Getting a turnover or two sets the offense up, in theory, with better opportunities to score. And they will. It’s the defense and how they play that will determine Super Bowl qualifications…

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to jrooke@golocalprov.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• Don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text us at 37937…and send email to the show - golocal@weei.com .


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joe adamowicz

"How's s brother Bobby Hurley faring? In his first year as head coach at Buffalo, the Bulls are 7-4 through Friday’s game against South Dakota State, heading into MAC play against Northern Illinois. Wins over St. Bonaventure, at Drexel and Robert Morris…plus an OT loss at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to Manhattan…seem to show he’s got a grip on running his own show."
Yes, and did you note that Drexel, a team bested by Bobby, only lost to Arizona by 4 points, whereas the other coach Hurley was at the helm of listing ship URI as it wobbled to a 28 point thumping by the Wildcats. Tell me, Bobby would not have fared better. Many think that the real coach at Wagner was the assistant, aka Bobby, when Dan Hurley jumped into the limelight. I've read articles saying that the players respected his calm demeanor and basketball IQ. Could it be that the Rams hired the wrong Hurley? It sure seems so to me. Maybe Dan will learn that his over-the-top antics are not the way to go and get away from his high school mentality. In the meantime I am hoping he can keep the thumping by LSU under 20 points.

joe adamowicz

"Wrong Man For The Job"

with apologies to JoJo

I thought that you were the best part of hoop
Baby, I guess that we just believe what we wanna believe
I thought I knew you so well
I couldn't tell
that this ship was sinking so deep
I see it now
I'm breathing now
It's time for you to go

It was cool when it started but now the wins are gone
You're the wrong man for the job
My heart is breaking in pieces, but still I'm moving on
You're the wrong man for the job
I can't believe it took me so long to realize
Finally knows what it feels like (wrong man for the job)
I started moving but I wont be afraid
I'm sorry to say
You're the wrong man for the job

Ohh ohh

Sometimes I wish I could take back everything
It'd be easier to never have known you
I would spare myself so much pain
But still I can't stop thinkin bout what I'm do without
You in the lonely gymnasium
But now I know what I gotta do
I can't ever change you
I'm letting it go tonight

It was cool when it started but now the wins are gone
You're the wrong man for the job
My heart is breaking in pieces, but still I'm moving on
You're the wrong man for the job
I can't believe it took me so long to realize
Finally knows what it feels like (wrong man for the job)
I start to move but I wont be afraid
I'm sorry to say
You're the wrong man for the job

Rod Carri

Joe the Jackass Adumbowits spends his entire life trying to
trash Dan Hurley.
Get a life, idiot.
Wrong man for the job? At least he's not some sniveling weasel hiding
behind a keyboard in Ipswich, Ma.

joe adamowicz

Hurley needs to git-r-done or git-outta-town!!!!

Ray Sicard

Waiting for a comment from d-bag Joe the Jackass!!!!!!!!

Rod Carri

FINAL SCORE, URI 74- LSU 70!!!!!
He Ascumbowit, where are you now?
Hurley beat an SEC team on their home court!
Crickets,from the Ipswich Idiot!

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