Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flyers assign 13 to Phantoms


The Philadelphia Flyers today announced that they have assigned 13 players to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Among those reassigned were defensemen Oskars Bartulis, Tim Ramholt and Mike Ratchuk; forwards Rob Bellamy, Frederik Cabana, Matt Clackson, Garrett Klotz, David Laliberte, Ned Lukacevic, Patrick Maroon, Jon Matsumoto and Nate Raduns; and goaltender Jeremy Duchesne.

In addition, the Flyers have released defensemen Tim Branham, Brad Brown and forwards Igor Karlov, Mike Kaye and Dennis Packard from their pro tryouts and forward Mike Hoffman from his amateur tryout.

Sixers officially name McKie assistant coach

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that 13-year NBA veteran Aaron McKie has rejoined the franchise as an assistant coach on Maurice Cheeks’ staff. McKie will also have additional duties in player development.

McKie was originally named a member of the Sixers coaching staff back on Oct. 3, 2007. Since he never officially retired as a player, his rights still belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers signed McKie to a contract in order to package him in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol on Feb. 1, 2008. Although he did not appear in a game, McKie spent the remainder of the season on the Grizzlies roster before being waived on May 9, 2008.

In 793 career games with 287 starts, McKie averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.15 steals in 24.2 minutes per game. He enjoyed his best season as a Sixer in 2000-01, taking home Sixth Man of the Year honors while helping Philadelphia reach the NBA Finals. That same season, he recorded back-to-back triple-doubles at Sacramento on Dec. 30, 2000 (19 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds) and vs. Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2001 (11 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

McKie, who had his jersey retired at Simon Gratz High School in 2002, also starred at Temple University. He finished his three-year career with the Owls tied for sixth on the school’s all-time scoring list and was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year as a junior in 1993.

Brewers manager Dale Sveum talks about NLDS

Q. Dale, the last time you were here you were the third base coach. Can you just talk about your life since then and just what a whirlwind it's been and also do you have your roster set yet?

DALE SVEUM: Yeah, we have it set, but I'll announce it after our workout, just in case anything crazy happens during that workout.

But, yeah, we have it set. And obviously two weeks ago, you know, I was here, I believe, just getting swept by these guys and it wasn't a very pleasant experience. But obviously my life changed the next morning. And it's definitely been a whirlwind.

And starting tomorrow I think what this team just went through over the last week at home, tomorrow's going to be nothing to them. It's been obviously a crazy last seven days for these guys and they came through in flying colors, obviously.

And tomorrow is pretty much a cakewalk compared to what they just went through.

Q. Can you talk about Yovani and all he's went through and being in the spotlight on the stage?

DALE SVEUM: He's a special young man. He's got the heart of a lion, and that's pretty much based on why we're starting him. Obviously he's put himself through a lot this season with the knee injury and battled back and did everything he could, and obviously threw four great innings against the Pirates a week ago.

And his makeup, we feel he really is the right guy for Game 1. He's way ahead of his age as far as mentally, his makeup, the poise he has when he's out on the mound. We feel he's the right guy for Game 1.

Q. To follow up on that, what kind of a pitcher is he looking at, what does he have in his repertoire? And, two, Salomon Torres has a bad ERA. Has he hit a wall?

DALE SVEUM: I don't know that he's hit a wall. He's a lot better when he gets rest. He's got quite a bit of rest over the last five six days and he's ready to go. He threw ‑‑ our bullpen coach said he threw the heck out of the ball when he was up last night when the last out was made. He's fine and I have all the confidence in the world to get the ground balls and get us out of it.

As far as Gallardo, he's got the full package. He's got the changeup and the curveball and the heavy fastball, and he has the extra velocity when he needs it. He's a pretty special young man.

Q. It was such a turning point moment really for both clubs the last time you were here, and yet the thing that's different this time around is Gallardo and Sabathia are pitching, two guys the Phillies haven't seen this year. To what extent does that alone give you hope that it will be a different result?

DALE SVEUM: Obviously it's a different scenario. Sabathia didn't pitch in either of them games, four games when we were here, and neither did Yovani, a guy they haven't seen yet. And obviously Sabathia is C.C. whether you've seen him or not.

So that's water under the bridge so to speak, what happened last time. This is a whole 'nother ball game so to speak.

Q. What is this park like for power hitting teams? Obviously you have a power‑hitting team, the Phillies do. Can we expect a high‑scoring series?

DALE SVEUM: The playoffs and a lot of times what wins games in the playoffs is pitching and defense. And they've got some very good starting pitching going out there as well as we do. So who knows. But obviously it's the hitters and we all know this is one of the better ballparks to hit in throughout the league.

Q. Ever since C.C. Sabathia comes at you, in addition to what he's done on the mound, what has he meant in the clubhouse in terms of bringing guys together and keeping the guys' heads straight throughout the season?

DALE SVEUM: C.C. is not only a great pitcher that we all know, but he's one of those special human beings that comes around every once in a while. What he does on the field, the clubhouse, the person he is, he's very professional and works hard. One of the nicest guys I've ever been around that's a superstar.

He brings a lot to all aspects of the clubhouse. Obviously on the field we see that every two or three days (smiling).

Q. On playoff experience, this team doesn't have very much of it. Obviously a lot of young guys. How do you compensate for that or is it just something you're going to go in and they're going to get it as you go along? And secondly, off of that, the one guy you do have, who is great in the 2004‑2006 playoffs for the Cardinals, Suppan, that's the time he rose his game. Is he going to be your Game 3 or 4 pitcher and how much can he lend to the team in that area?

DALE SVEUM: He'll be either 3 or 4. We'll have to see what happens. They know that what the scenario is. But, yeah, Sup has obviously pitched some big games in his life. And he pitched a big one the other day against the Cubs. Game 1 there. He pitched five solid innings, gave up a run, I think, and that was basically a playoff game.

So a lot of these guys don't have a lot of experience, but like I just said, we're basically in a playoff game every day for the last week and they came through with flying colors obviously. The bullpen was phenomenal. We got some big hits by our young guys. Brauny came through huge, Prince (Fielder). And we have veterans in Cameron and Durham that have been there before. And Jason Kendall.

So like I said, tomorrow's nothing compared to what these young men went through this last week.

Q. When are you coming up with your Game 3 pitcher, when will that be determined?

DALE SVEUM: Probably after tomorrow's game. We'll see how the whole game spreads out as far as bullpen and match‑ups and what we have to use here and there.

Q. You said Gallardo has the full package in terms of his ability to pitch, but the fact that he's a rookie, do you feel that he also ‑‑ or the fact that he's a young player, do you feel he also has the mental makeup to not get fazed by Game 1 of the playoffs?

DALE SVEUM: Yeah, the young man wasn't fazed back off of knee surgery and all that. I think he struck out the first seven of nine batters against his first start out. So, no, I have complete confidence in him pitching Game 1. I have no problem with it. If I had a problem with it, we could have started someone else. So I'm fully confident of Yovani Gallardo.

Q. How has your life personally changed here in the last couple of weeks to get thrown into a manager's job in the middle of a pennant race and now you're here in the playoffs?

DALE SVEUM: Well, it's changed a lot. Obviously I have a lot of responsibilities now. Not just sending guys home and stopping guys and positioning infielders. You've got a lot on your table now.

But it's something I've prepared for since I got done playing. Even before I got done playing I was kind of preparing to be a manager some day. And obviously some strange circumstances to get the job. But obviously we made the best of it and we found a way to win.

But life has changed. Two weeks ago I didn't think I was going to be making the decision to let C.C. hit and let him finish the game. That wasn't something I was thinking about two weeks ago, that I was going to have to make a decision like that.

But it's been fun. It's one of the greatest rides I've had in my career.

Q. Is Ben Sheets off the table for this series and if so what's the level of disappointment for him and for the rest of the team?

DALE SVEUM: Well, we haven't made that decision yet. We'll find out today more about that and make all those decisions after this workout today.

Q. What is your message to the team as they get ready to embark on this journey? I know the other day it was give them hell. But what is your message, and just are you now getting to know you a little better are you always this calm on the brink of something like this?

DALE SVEUM: Yeah, I don't get too excited about things. Obviously, you know, I've probably found in the last week my heart rate got to somewhere where I've never had it before. But I try to stay as calm as I can. It's just kind of my nature. It doesn't change. But obviously the message is kind of what I just said.

What you guys just went through in the last week is nothing the rest of the way. That monkey is off your back and now it's just time to go play your game and have fun. It's an experience of a lifetime and nobody can say they haven't been in the playoffs because what we just went through was the playoffs.

Every game was a playoff game for us. And those guys knew that. Their backs were against the wall and they knew they were going to have to win seven of the last six or seven games in a row, and they did. They won six out of the last seven games.

So as far as I'm concerned they've been through it.

Q. How deep do you expect Gallardo to go tomorrow?

DALE SVEUM: Nine innings. That's obviously the goal when you take the mound.

Q. But realistically coming off the first start, four innings?

DALE SVEUM: He can go nine innings, if he throws 10, 11 pitches an inning. So my expectation he'll throw a complete game and then we'll worry about the rest of it when it happens.

Q. The last time you guys were here 10 runs scored. Is that the matchup with this pitching staff or was it just a hitting slump? And have the lineup changes you've made maybe improved your chances in that regard?

DALE SVEUM: Well, you like to think so. But obviously we were not playing very well at the time or swinging the bats very well. And the lineup changes change anything. The fact of the matter is, like I said, teams get to the playoffs because they have one, two, three really solid starting pitching. And that usually will stop good hitting most of the time anyway.

But, yeah, things have changed in that regards. But I completely have all the confidence in these guys now that they've gone through it that they'll swing the bats. But obviously, like I said, there's good starting pitching, that's why the teams are in the playoffs.

Q. Will you stay with your platoons at second and third base? And also what special challenges does Cole Hamels present? I know he's got a killer changeup.

DALE SVEUM: I'm going to stay with the left‑ and right‑handed pitching. So that is not going to change at all. And Cole is one of the top pitchers in baseball, but he has a power changeup. He can work his fastball both sides of the plate. He works the ball up in the zone. And, like I said, he's got an out pitch that helps anybody. When you have a power out pitch like he does, you'll be able to get outs when you get in trouble and things like that.

He's kind of the guy hopefully you get some guys on, somebody pops a three‑run homer and score that way, because the best pitchers find a way to get out of jams and things like that. We obviously see it from C.C. and when Sheets was healthy, those guys have good enough stuff to have the bases loaded and nobody out. And somehow or some way you don't score a run off those guys.

Q. Two questions. One, have you heard from Ned Oust and, two, what's the biggest change you've made in two weeks from being a coach to a manager, with the team? What's the biggest change?

DALE SVEUM: To answer your first question, no, I haven't heard from Ned. I was going to kind of wait until this all settles down. Obviously we'll talk about it and everything. But obviously the biggest thing, the change in my life, is you have all the responsibility now.

Q. I'm talking about the team. Is there anything you did differently to change the direction of the team, not you personally but is there anything different about the team in the last two weeks that didn't happen before? What was the biggest adjustment you made?

DALE SVEUM: I don't know. Obviously I changed the lineup around. Other than that, you know, I just tried to be a calming influence. Just go out and have fun and play. If you do bad, it's not like ‑‑ I told them in my meeting that the game came hard to me. It wasn't easy. So I know about struggling and knowing how hard the game is and just go and play and don't worry about me thinking indifferent about you, if you have a bad day or a bad at bat or a bad inning pitching. That's just not the way I am.

I'm a very optimistic guy and understand how difficult this game is. It was very difficult to me and I had plenty of struggles. And I just wanted those guys to understand that's the way I am and that's the way it's going to be.

Q. You mentioned being a calming influence a number of times, and how do you balance, obviously when you play ball, if you have a more relaxed approach, just take it as the game may get better results, how do you marry that with the importance of this series you're in? How do you get players to perform loose and just go have fun yet play with the intensity they need to really have fire?

DALE SVEUM: If you don't play with intensity in these situations, you probably don't belong here. This is what we grew up wanting to do and obviously since we were five, six years old we sit in the backyard and pretend we're in Game 7 of the World Series or walk‑off home run in the playoff game. And that's kind of the stuff that just happened to these guys. And these guys don't have a hard time playing hard. We really have a good team as far as that kind of stuff, working, playing hard, running balls out.

I don't have to really worry about that too much, those kind of things. So these guys, you know, they come to play and they have a lot of fun in the clubhouse. We have a lot of fun personalities. So they keep loose. Like I said, the fact of the matter these are young men and a few veterans we have on the team have just gone through the playoffs. So this is kind of a cakewalk compared to what these guys have just been through.

Q. Ryan Howard has been arguably the hottest hitter in baseball over the last month, really getting all kinds of big hits for the Phillies and coming through in the clutch. Without giving any trade secrets away here for this series, just talk about your approach to pitching to Howard and what you've seen in him in the last month, just the general comment on him?

DALE SVEUM: Obviously he's done some things in a month that sometimes take a guy a lifetime to do. He's been unbelievable for a month. And two weeks ago he had a heck of a series against us here.

You keep him in the ballpark, games change. So pitching to him, whatever, that's just part of the game, whatever you're going to do and whatever our philosophy is going to be from at bat to at bat will change. But, obviously, no matter who it is, they've got a few more home run hitters than him. They've got a heck of a lineup.

So you just try to keep anybody in the ballpark, and that's the biggest goal we're going to have to have to deal with is keeping these guys in the ballpark.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Coach.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Brewers' Braun, Gallardo talk NLDS

MODERATOR: We have Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo here. Questions.

Q. Ryan, how much did the rib cage injury affect you in the last month of the season?

RYAN BRAUN: You know, it's frustrating whenever you have an injury that you're dealing with because physically I wasn't able to do what I was accustomed to doing. I think from a pain perspective it wasn't necessarily that painful. But it affected I guess my back path. I felt like I wasn't able to stay on the ball, stay through the ball. My follow through was drastically different.

It wasn't necessarily painful, but it was obviously very frustrating.

Q. Ryan, the last time you were here it was such a turning‑point moment for both clubs, what did this team learn about itself when it sort of bottomed out after that four‑game sweep? And, Yovani, for you afterwards, you haven't faced these guys. To what extent do you think your ability to give a fresh look maybe leads to a different result?

RYAN BRAUN: You know, I think for us as a team we learned yet again we were able to deal with adversity. This year has been kind of an emotional roller coaster for us the end of the series was about as low as we got as a team.

But, again, we responded well to adversity. I think we played much better down the stretch. I think the last week for us was basically a playoff atmosphere. I think we learned how to deal with that and ultimately had a win in those circumstances.

YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, as for me, the last time we were here I was unfortunately I was hurt so I faced them last year. So I'm sure they know what pitches I throw and things like that. But still, I mean, the only thing I'm going to go out there and do is give my team the opportunity to win.

Q. Now that you're here and now that you're in the post‑season, is it any different? Are the butterflies already gone, do you try to get rid of distractions and the ticket requests and all this stuff?

RYAN BRAUN: For me it's no different. It's just another game. There's more emphasis, there's more focus and there's more scrutiny that goes on, but ultimately it's the same game but obviously just bigger circumstances, bigger situation.

But I think we're all looking forward to it. I think we're certainly prepared for this. I think playing meaningful, competitive games down the stretch, basically the last week for us was a must‑win game every day. And playing under those circumstances and just basically feeling the energy of the crowd. Feeling the excitement in the crowd, dealing with the media every day, dealing with everything we had to deal with as a team I think really helped prepare us for the post‑season.

YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, I think just like Ryan said, I mean of course there's going to be a lot more excitement going on. Everybody's going to pretty much going to be watching the playoffs.

But the main thing you've got the look at is just go out there, do the same thing you've been doing for 162 games. It's no different.

Q. Yovani, you probably have the fewest games and innings pitched of any pitcher ever to start Game 1 of any playoff series. Can you talk about that weird journey of not pitching most of the year and now being in this spotlight? And also Dale said he thinks you can go nine innings. What's your expectations?

YOVANI GALLARDO: I hope I can go nine. That's what I'm going to try for. It's been tough for me. Showing up at spring training, having my left knee surgery and missing the first couple weeks of the season having three starts and getting reinjured on my right knee.

But like I said, these guys they're behind me the whole way. I had an opportunity to do rehab back at the stadium and things like that. They were there. They were pushing me every day just to rehab hard and give me an opportunity to come back. And I'm just very excited. It's one of those things, to have the opportunity to go out there start Game 1. It's an honor.

Q. Did you think along the way, hey, if I get well, I could be pitching in the playoffs?

YOVANI GALLARDO: Of course. Like I said, the whole year this team had a goal, and that was to make the playoffs this year. And, like I said, they were there pushing me, and that was one of the goals I had in my mind, too.

Q. When did you first really get wind or have an idea you were going to be starting Game 1?

YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, I think yesterday. It's one of those things you really don't know how the whole ‑‑ you've got the set up your rotation and things like that. Like I said, I'm just excited to be part of the team and have an opportunity to go out and pitch.

Q. Last time you threw about 70 pitches in four innings. Do you feel like you can go like mid‑July in a normal year throw 110, or are you going to be on a restricted count?

YOVANI GALLARDO: You know what, I really don't know. I guess it depends on how the game goes and things like that. Hopefully, I mean, they'll allow me give the opportunity to go a little bit more pitches than I did last time. But just one of those things we're going to have to wait around and see.

Q. How much in your opinion, if at all, did the managerial change matter, and do you think you guys would have been sitting here no matter what happened?

RYAN BRAUN: I don't think if it ‑‑ I don't know whether it directly had an effect on our success or our turnaround or not. I think it made us understand obviously the urgency of the situation and just the fact that upper management and that ownership believed that we could still turn this thing around and find a way to win. And obviously it's worked out for us.

It was a pretty easy transition because we were already ‑‑ we knew Dale. We were comfortable with Dale. He knows our abilities. He knows our personalities. And he also understands how difficult this game is. So it was a pretty easy transition. He certainly deserves a lot of the credit. But I don't think Ned deserved half of the fault that he was given at the same time either.

Q. Yovani, how much do you feed off when you see what C.C. does and what some of the other starters have done, feed off it for your purposes?

YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, for me, just having the opportunity to go out there and watch C.C. pitch every day, every start he's had. He's one of the most competitive guys that I've seen, I'll tell you that.

And just for every start, I think feel being a young guy, you can learn something from everybody, just having the opportunity to go out there. And he's a great guy. He just helps you out in whatever situations you might need.

Q. Ryan, in your mind what does it mean being a clutch hitter?

RYAN BRAUN: To stay comfortable, be able to stay within yourself. When the situation gets bigger late in the game or close game or runners on base, just be able to stay within yourself, not doing too much, staying relaxed and just looking to get a good pitch to hit and hitting it hard. When you try to do too much or overanalyze the situation, I think that's when you get yourself in trouble.

Q. Last time in here you were swept. Do you use that as motivation at all?

RYAN BRAUN: It's the post‑season. We don't need any extra motivation. We obviously understand the situation we're in and we're excited to get out here and compete.

Q. Yovani, one thing that people always say about you how uncommonly poised and calm you are for such a young guy. How much is that going to be tested tomorrow?

YOVANI GALLARDO: It's going to be very tough, I'll tell you that. But, I mean, just like I said, you just gotta go out there and take it like a normal game and things like that. Everybody knows that I really don't ‑‑ I try not to show too much emotion out on the mound whether it be good or bad. It's the post‑season, I'm sure there's going to be something there tomorrow. We'll see how it plays out.

Q. The guy we didn't mention related to the sweep of a few weeks ago was C.C. Of course, he didn't face the Phillies either. So to what extent, Ryan and Yovani, does the fact that you're able to give them two starters who they haven't seen this year give you some encouragement that you can come in here and actually get a split or maybe take both?

RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, it's exciting for us to have an opportunity to throw Yovani and C.C. at them Games 1 and 2 when they didn't have an opportunity to see them, and in my opinion those are two the best pitchers. And specially C.C., being that Ryan Howard has been the hottest hitter, he's left‑handed, and Chase Utley, one of their best hitters and one of the best hitters in the league. He's left‑handed.

Something for us to look forward to, but I'm sure they'll be prepared for the challenge and it will be fun to see what happens.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Lidge is NL Comeback Player of the Year

Brad Lidge of the Philadelphia Phllies was the recipient of the 2008 National League Comeback Player of the Year Award, it was announced today.

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and is presented annually to one player in each League who has re-emerged on the baseball field during the season.

Lidge, in his first year with the Phillies, re-established himself as one of the game’s premier closers as he helped Philadelphia claim its second consecutive N.L. East Division Title. The 31-year-old right-hander was perfect in save situations, converting each of his 41 opportunities, becoming just the fourth Phillies pitcher in team history to record 40 saves in a single season. Brad finished the season with a 2-0 record and a 1.87 ERA while earning his second National League All-Star selection. In 69.1 innings, Lidge recorded 92 strikeouts against 35 walks with 50 hits.

The former first round draft pick (17th overall in 1998) has converted a career-best 44 consecutive save opportunities dating back to last season, eclipsing his previous best of 24 straight in 2005. The streak ranks third-longest in the Majors since 1990 and is also the longest in Phillies history. Among National Leaguers, Brad finished the season ranked first in save percentage, second in saves, and third in strikeouts and games finished (61). In 2007, Lidge went 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 67.0 innings pitched for Houston, converting 19 of 27 save opportunities.

Sixers tweak training camp roster

The Sixers signed free agent big man Cory Underwood to replace Justin Reed on the training camp roster.

Last season, Underwood (6-10, 240) played for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League. He was coached by Jeff Ruland, who was named an assistant coach for the Sixers back in August. In 36 games with 13 starts for the T-Birds, Underwood averaged 6.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game while shooting 42.0% from the floor and 66.1% from the line.

Since finishing his collegiate career at Southern University of New Orleans in 2003, Underwood has played in numerous leagues, including the ABA (American Basketball Association), the USBL (United States Basketball League), WBA (World Basketball Association), CBA (Continental Basketball Association) as well as leagues in both Brazil and Poland.

The native of Queens is also a frequent participant in the Entertainers Basketball Classic at RuckerPark in New York City and is known as “The Undertaker.”

The Steve Lienert Show

Episode 24 of The Steve Lienert Show, which was recorded prior to the
Eagles-Bears game, is available for the world's listening pleasure at
www.podmitten.com. The show takes an optimistic look at the Eagles chances
against the Bears, thus proving how wrong one sports guy with too much time on
his hands can be. Lance Armstrong gets "reallied" before Lienert and the
Pickleman talk about the Phillies second-straight division championship. It's
20-plus minutes of your life you'll never get back, so why not spend it
listening to The Steve Lienert Show?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sixers to bring back McKie as assistant coach

The Inquirer is reporting that the Sixers will bring back Aaron McKie as an assistant coach on Monday.

McKie will join a Sixers assistant coaching staff that includes Jim Lynam, John Loyer and Jeff Ruland.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Temple lets another one slip away

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Think Temple is unlucky?

You may have a point.

For the third time in four weeks, Al Golden’s bunch let one slip away when Western Michigan (4-1, 2-0 MAC) topped the Owls (1-4, 0-2), 7-3.

The Owls have now let an undefeated UConn team off the hook in their home opener and were beaten by Buffalo on a last second Hail Mary play. Then, star quarterback Adam DiMichele separated his shoulder in the first quarter against Penn State and today, the Temple defense held a team averaging over 36 points a game coming into the contest to just seven points.

A 4-1 start and dreams of a bowl appearance are already out the window.

But, that’s nothing compared to scheduling homecoming when the Phillies are trying to capture the NL East and the Flyers are closing down the Spectrum across the street.

There was a sea of humanity down at the sports complex Saturday almost like Philadelphia was finally hosting a big time college football game, except very few members of that sea were trying to fight their way into the Linc.

A sparse crowd of 10,000 or so saw the starting debut of redshirt freshman Chester Stewart at quarterback for the Owls. In his first significant action against the Nits, Stewart finished 16-for-30 passing for 116 yards and three interceptions. Hardly an auspicious debut but after Oregon State stunned No. 1 USC, maybe Penn State is a lot better than we all thought.

The MAC and Western Michigan would prove to a better barometer of Stewart’s skills.

A great athlete with excellent size, Stewart, who led DeMatha Catholic in Maryland (Brian Westbrook’s high school) to a 12-0 record as a senior, is clearly the future at Temple and quickly passed junior Vaughn Charlton on the depth chart. Golden envisions a signal caller that can move the chains with his arm and his legs in a spread offense.

But, Stewart is just not ready and was woefully inaccurate during the game turning the Owls offense one-dimensional. He finished just 10-of-20 for 60 yards and added another 29 yards rushing.

"I think he did alright. It's his first time out there," Golden said. "I think they knew it too and did a lot of things to confuse him. I think he's a good talent. I think early in the first quarter he managed the game extremely well."

It was Stewart’s legs that moved Temple into field goal position on the opening drive of the game and junior kicker Jake Brownell converted, booting a 45-yarder with just over nine minutes left in the first quarter.

Defense took over from there and Temple would not score again.

Western Michigan adjusted and crowed the line of scrimmage, taking away the Owls running game, while Temple made some big plays including a Jamal Schulters interception off a deflected pass.

Stewart didn’t complete a pass until the 12:01 mark in the second quarter and penalties haunted the Owls. A defensive holding call on Alex Joseph erased a Dominique Harris interception that would have given Temple the ball inside the Broncos five-yard line. Later, a holding call on Travis Shelton negated a James Nixon 50-yard TD run.

"I'm stuck as a coach on what to do about these penalties," Golden said." I've never seen this amount of penalties. It more than it was a year ago, and we are a year older, a year more mature and it's just been hard. The timing of the penalties has been destructive. Execution. It still comes down to execution."

Still, the Owls had a chance to extend their advantage when Nixon broke off a 43-yard run late in the first half but Stewart took a bad sack on the next play and Brownell was eventually wide right from 39 yards out.

Western Michigan and its quarterback Tim Hiller finally got going in the waning seconds of the half. Hiller picked apart a soft zone before stalling at the five-yard line. John Potter came on from there and missed the 24-yard bunny with five seconds in the half.

The offensive ineptitude continued deep into the third quarter until Temple defense finally broke. The Broncos were helped by an illegal substitution penalty, the Owls second of the day, en route to a nine-play, 77-yard TD drive. Hiller found Juan Nunez behind a dropped coverage down the left sideline for a 30-yard TD with just over two minutes left in the third quarter to give Western Michigan a 7-3 edge.

"It just seemed to me like we got beat," Golden said. "The kid made a great throw and catch. It's a shame, because if you eliminate that explosive play, it's a different game."

The Owls had a chance to go back on top in the fourth quarter after a great punt return by Delano Green. But, Stewart threw a one-hopper to a wide open Bruce Francis in the end zone. To make matter worse, Brownell clanged his ensuing field goal attempt off the right upright and Temple still trailed 7-3 with about 10 minutes to go.

The Owls defense proved to be resilient and put the ball back into the hands of Stewart but the freshman proved to be too inaccurate to move the ball consistently.

A great Jeff Wathne punt pinned the Broncos at their own four-yard line with just over four minutes left but a 18-yard Brandon West run got Western Michigan out of trouble. Just when the Temple defense looked like it was out of gas, Schulters forced a West fumble that Jaiquawn Jarrett recovered at the Broncos 39 with 2 ½ minutes remaining.

Stewart quickly put himself behind the 8-ball by taking a delay of game penalty before running the first play of the series. Two incompletions later, a screen netted two yards and Temple faced a 4th-and-13 with 2:10 remaining. After a timeout, Stewart badly overthrew his intended receiver deep down the right sideline, securing things for Western Michigan.

"I think the biggest thing with Chester is chemistry," Francis said. "I mean, we were playing with Adam (DiMichele) so long and Vaughn (Charlton) last season. It's tough for a guy like Chester, a freshman, to come into a game like that. It's a lot different than practice, the pace is a lot different, where Adam had that chemistry and knows how to throw it to us. I have tremendous confidence in Chester, we just need to work with him."

Nixon led Temple with 53 yards rushing, while Joseph paced the defense with seven tackles, including two for a loss.

Hiller completed 26-of-42 passes for 252 yards with a TD and an interception for Western Michigan.

Owl Droppings: Stewart was just 2-of-6 passing for four yards in the first half...The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets both had scouts on hand...

Friday, September 26, 2008

McNabb, Westbrook both questionable

Eagles QB Donovan McNabb (chest) and RB Brian Westbrook (foot) were both listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. Expect DMac to give it a go but Westbrook to sit out against the Bears. Right guard Shawn Andrews (back), tight end L.J. Smith (back) and WR Kevin Curtis (hernia) were all listed as doubtful and are unlikely to play.

Flyers return Marshall to QMJHL

The Philadelphia Flyers have returned defenseman Kevin Marshall to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.

Marshall, 19, did not appear in any of the Flyers’ first three preseason games this season. He was drafted by the Flyers in the second round (41st overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Randolph signs with Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers signed forward Shavlik Randolph on Thursday.

A member of the Philadelphia 76ers for three seasons, Randolph averaged 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 79 games, including seven starts.

He averaged careers highs of 4.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.77 blocks in 13 games in 2006-07.

Sixers sign five to round out camp roster

Philadelphia, Pa. – September 25, 2008 – Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has signed five free agents, rounding out the roster for training camp, which runs from Sept. 30 through Oct. 5 at Penn State University. With today’s additions of Andre Emmett, Justin Reed, Jared Reiner, Maureece Rice and Antywane Robinson, the Sixers roster now stands at 19.

Emmett (6-4, 216) was originally selected with the 35th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by Seattle (now Oklahoma City). He appeared in eight games for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2004-05 season. Most recently, Emmett averaged a league-high 23.9 points per game for Belgacom Liege Basket of the Belgian League. Emmett played four seasons for Texas Tech, with the final three coming under the tutelage of Bobby Knight. He finished his career as the Red Raiders all-time leader in scoring with 2,256 points.

Reed (6-8, 238) was selected by Boston with the 40th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. In three seasons with the Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves, Reed has appeared in 136 games with nine starts, averaging 3.5 points (40.4% FGs, 75.2% FTs) and 1.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game. Last season, Reed appeared in three preseason games for the Houston Rockets before joining the Austin Toros of the D-League. In a combined 30 games for the Toros and Bakersfield Jam, he averaged 17.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Reed spent his collegiate career at the University of Mississippi, becoming the first player in school history to earn All-SEC honors in all four seasons.

Reiner (6-11, 245) attended the University of Iowa and was not selected in the 2004 NBA Draft but signed as a rookie free-agent with the Chicago Bulls for the 2004-05 season. In two seasons with the Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, Reiner has played a total of 46 games with four starts, averaging 1.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 8.2 minutes per game. This past summer, Reiner participated in the Sixers entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 1.4 points and 2.2 rebounds. Last season, Reiner played abroad in both Spain and Germany.

Rice (6-1, 224) is best known for his career at Strawberry Hill High School, during which he tallied 2,681 points, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain’s Philadelphia school record of 2,206 points. Rice went on to attend The George Washington University, where he was named Atlantic-10 Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore and A-10 All-Conference Third Team as a junior. He was not selected in the NBA Draft this past June.

Robinson (6-8, 220) played all four seasons at Temple University, earning Atlantic-10 All-Conference Second Team honors his senior season. For his career, Robinson had 85 steals to 54 turnovers in 116 games played. He has yet to appear in an NBA game after going undrafted in 2006, but played preseason games for the Atlanta Hawks in 2007. After being waived by the Hawks, Robinson joined the Sioux Falls Sky Force of the D-League before playing overseas for Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez of the French League.

Affliction teams with EliteXC; Arlovski to fight on CBS

CBS, EliteXC, and Trump’s Affliction Entertainment jointly announced today that a fifth fight has been added to the lineup for CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS on Saturday, Oct. 4 featuring top-ranked MMA heavyweights Andrei Arlovski against the last reigning IFL heavyweight champion Roy “Big Country” Nelson.  

Arlovski, who was originally slated to fight in the main event of the Oct. 11 Affliction card, is the No. 4 ranked heavyweight in the world, according to MMAWEEKLY.com.  A native of Belarus, Arlovski was last seen ending Ben Rothwell’s 13-fight winning streak during the inaugural "Affliction Banned" show, which was held on July 19, 2008.  Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion and currently has a record of 13-5.     

Roy "Big Country" Nelson has made a name for himself with impressive knock outs, a remarkable ground game and stellar submissions.  He was the IFL’s last reigning heavyweight champion and currently holds an impressive record of 13-2.   Training with Ken Shamrock’s legendary fight camp, the Lion’s Den, Nelson stands at 6'0" and weighs approximately 250 pounds.  

"This is yet another testament to EliteXC’s willingness to work with other MMA promotions to bring the best possible fights to the broadest possible audience," said Jeremy Lappen, head of the Live Fight Division of EliteXC.  "Special thanks to the hard working team at Affliction and of course our partners at CBS and Showtime."

The third installment of CBS’s primetime MMA event, CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS, will be broadcast live from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. on Saturday, Oct. 4 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

EliteXC and Affliction have teamed up to deliver one of the strongest MMA cards, top to bottom, of the year. The following is the confirmed lineup for the Oct. 4 CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS:

Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock (Heavyweights)
Jake Shields vs. Paul Daley (for EliteXC Welterweight title)   
Andrei Arlovski vs. Roy "Big Country" Nelson (Heavyweights)
Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobold (Women's 140-Pound Weight Class)  
Murilo "Ninja" Rua vs. Benji Radach (Middleweights)  

BDawk is NFC Defensive POW

The veteran safety had 10 tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Eagles’ 15-6 win over Pittsburgh. 

Dawkins played in his 170th career game with Philadelphia, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer CHUCK BEDNARIK and moving into second place in franchise history.  The game also marked the 100th Eagles victory Dawkins has played in (92 regular season, eight postseason).  The 13-year veteran led a defense that held the Steelers to 180 total yards, including just 33 rushing yards.  The Eagles recorded nine sacks, forced three turnovers and posted a safety.  Philadelphia held Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to 131 passing yards on 25 attempts, the lowest total of his career in games with at least 22 attempts, and held running back Willie Parker to 20 yards on 13 carries, his lowest total in games with at least 12 carries. 

In his 13th year from Clemson, this is Dawkins’ third career Player of the Week Award.  He was also honored in Week 4 of 2002 and Week 15 of 2006.  Dawkins is now tied for the most Defensive Player of the Week Awards in franchise history with SETH JOYNER, LITO SHEPPARD, CLYDE SIMMONS and Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McNabb, Westbrook both miss practice

The Eagles went back to work Wednesday without quarterback Donovan McNabb (chest) and running back Brian Westbrook (ankle). The two offensive stars led a group of five players on the sidelines.

Pro Bowl right guard Shawn Andrews, who missed last week's game against Pittsburgh, remains out with a back injury, while fullback Tony Hunt (concussion) and tight end L.J. Smith (back) were also absent.

Wise receiver Kevin Curtis (sports hernia) was doing limited work as was defensive tackle Dan Klecko (hand).

Meanwhile, center Jamaal Jackson (quadricep) and defensive end Juqua Parker (knee) were both able to practice.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Parker, Reid nominated for weekly honors

Philadelphia Eagles DE Juqua Parker was one of five finalists nominated today for the GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week honors, while head coach Andy Reid was nominated for Motorola NFL Coach of the Week honors following their performances vs. the Steelers on Sunday.

Parker joins defensive end JOHN ABRAHAM of the Atlanta Falcons, linebacker JOEY PORTER of the Miami Dolphins, linebacker D.J. WILLIAMS of the Denver Broncos and cornerback ANTOINE WINFIELD of the Minnesota Vikings as the finalists for GMC SIERRA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK honors for games played on September 21 - 22, the NFL announced today.

Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com/gmc beginning immediately following Monday Night Football and ending on Thursday at 4:00 pm EST to determine the GMC SIERRA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK. The winner will be announced Thursday evening on NFL.com.

After the regular season, five players will be nominated for GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com/gmc throughout the month of January.

A closer look at the finalists:

* Atlanta’s JOHN ABRAHAM notched two sacks in the Falcons’ 38-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs bringing his season total to six. Abraham finished with three tackles and one forced fumble.

* Philadelphia’s JUQUA PARKER had 2.5 sacks, five tackles (two of them for loss), a forced fumble, a pass batted down and four quarterback hits in the Eagles’ 15 - 6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

* Miami’s JOEY PORTER recorded three sacks, a forced fumble, and six tackles (three for a loss) in the Dolphins’ 38 – 13 win over the New England Patriots.

* Denver’s D.J. WILLIAMS posted a game-high 16 tackles in the Broncos’ 34 - 32 win against the New Orleans Saints. After Williams tackled Saints RB Pierre Thomas for a loss of one yard on a third-and-1 from the Denver 24 with 2:19 left to play, New Orleans missed a 43-yard field goal attempt, sealing Denver’s win.

* Minnesota’s ANTOINE WINFIELD energized a Minnesota defense in the Vikings’ 20 – 10 win over the Carolina Panthers. Just before halftime, Winfield blitzed Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, notched his first sack of the season, forced a fumble, recovered the ball and ran it back 19 yards for a touchdown that tied the game.

Phillies as classless as ever

On the verge of clinching their second straight division championship, the Phillies have proven to be as classy as ever off the field.

The latest victim of Philadelphia's cheapest team?

How about us right here at The Phanatic Magazine.

The Phillies sent a threatening legal letter to us Tuesday claiming we have violated their trademark of The Phillie Phanatic, even though they acknowledge our disclaimers and the fact our logo bears no resemblence to the Phillies "P".

Maybe they need some of our google ad money to make a run at C.C. Sabathia.

Go Mets!

The Steve Lienert Show

Even though we seemed to have gotten ahead of ourselves a bit, Episode 23 of The Steve Lienert Show is now available for your listening pleasure at www.podmitten.com. Lienert and the Pickleman discuss the Eagles and Steelers, what’s up with Brian Westbrook and Reggie Brown’s triumphant, or not so triumphant, return. They also delve into whether or not Brian Dawkins has lost a step, the Eagles’ offensive line and the Phillies’ chase for the National League pennant. Not to mention that DeSean Jackson gets “reallied.” Its 40 minutes of your life you’ll never get back, so why not spend it listening to The Steve Lienert Show?

Marple Newtown high school football broadcasts

Congrats to The Phanatic's own Bob Herpen, who is now one of the voices of Marple Newtown football. You can listen to the Tigers' broadcasts by banging the link...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baskett scores

No, not on the field, numerous entertainment Web sites are reporting that the Birds wide receiver is dating Kendra Wilkinson of The Girls Next Door.

Penn State's Bowman named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Sept. 22, 2008 – One of the primary catalysts in Penn State’s 45-3 thumping of Temple on Saturday has earned his first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week recognition.

Sophomore linebacker Navorro Bowman (District Heights, Va.) was honored by the conference after recording career-highs with 11 tackles (eight solo), five tackles for minus-17 yards, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in the convincing win over the Owls Bowman shares the honor with Northwestern’s Vince Browne.

Bowman returned the interception 29 yards deep into Temple territory. His previous career-high was 10 tackles in the 45-14 win over Oregon State on Sept. 6.

Bowman led a defensive charge that limited Temple to 10 first downs, 16 rushing yards on 28 carries (0.6) and 138 yards of total offense. The Nittany Lions recorded a season-high seven sacks and 12 minus-yardage plays. The Owls were 2 of 15 on third down conversions.

For the season, Bowman leads the Lions with 35 tackles (20 solo). He is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in tackles, tied for third in sacks and eighth in tackles for losses.

Westbrook, McNabb both set for MRIs

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and running back Brian Westbrook are both scheduled for MRIs on Monday.

According to Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, McNabb has a deep bruise of the upper right pectoral muscle and X-rays were negative. Meanwhile, Westbrook, left the locker room on crutches and in a walking boot and was not putting any weight on the foot that was injured.

Eagles cheerleader Howard Eskin tried to downplay Westbrook's injury but Paolantonio said the running back was in "serious discomfort."

We will find out who is right sometime on Monday.

Eagles-Steelers roundup

With his 20-yard touchdown pass to RB Correll Buckhalter in the 2nd quarter, QB Donovan McNabb became the Eagles all-time leader in that category, moving past Ron Jaworski (175). McNabb now leads the Eagles in touchdowns (176) and completions (2,259). He trails Jaworski by 81 attempts and 721 yards for the club record in those categories.

McNabb joins Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only active quarterbacks to currently lead a franchise* in two or more of the four major passing categories (attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns). Favre leads the Packers in all four, as does Manning with the Colts. McNabb and Manning are the only QBs to have accomplished this feat with their current team.

*This list excludes expansion franchises who have only been in existence since 1996 (Ravens, Panthers, Jaguars, and Texans).


Brett Favre (GB*) 442

Peyton Manning (Ind) 308

Tom Brady (NE) 197

Donovan McNabb (Phi) 176

Mark Brunell (Jax*) 144

Jake Delhomme (Car) 98

David Carr (Hou*) 59

*not current team

The Eagles have not allowed a touchdown in three consecutive home games (9/21/08 vs. Pit., 9/7/08 vs. StL. & 12/30/07 vs. Buf.) for the first time in team history. In those three games, the Eagles defense has allowed an 11.1% conversion rate on third down (4-36), and held their opponents to an average of 136.7 net passing yards per game

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was held to the lowest yardage total (131 yards) of his career when attempting 22 or more passes in a game. To compare, he threw for 131 yards on 20 attempts vs. Washington on 11/28/04 and 123 yards on 21 attempts vs. Seattle in Super Bowl 40. Roethlisberger was sacked eight times by the Eagles, the second-most he has allowed in a game during his career. The Ravens sacked him nine times at Baltimore on 11/26/06 … In terms of run defense, Steelers RB Willie Parker was held to his lowest rushing output (20 yards on 13 attempts) in games in which he has had 12 or more carries. The Steelers 33 rushing yards was their lowest total since being held to just 21 yards by the Ravens on 11/26/06 at Baltimore, a span of 23 regular season games

P Sav Rocca booted 5 punts for a 44.4-yard average (43.4 net), including a 64-yarder, the second-longest of his career (65 on 10/28/07 at Min.), and 3 inside the 20-yard line. Rocca averages 46.9 yards on 12 punts this season, including 6 inside the 20. For his career, he has downed 30 of his 85 punts inside the 20-yard line, (35.3% average), topping the Eagles all-time list among punters with at least 50 career boots. Jeff Feagles is ranked 2nd with a 32.7% average (106/324)

The Eagles defense forced Pittsburgh into a safety when Roethlisberger was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone. It was the Eagles first safety since 12/7/03 vs. Dallas when Cowboys LS Matt Lehr snapped the ball out of the end zone. It was the first recorded by the defense since October 2, 1994, when DE William Fuller sacked Steve Young for a safety at San Francisco in the Eagles 40-8 win over the 49ers.

The Eagles nine sacks were their most since 9/23/07 vs. Detroit and tied for the third most in team history. The last time the Eagles tallied six sacks in a half was on 9/15/91 at Dallas … DE Juqua Parker registered a career-high 2.5 sacks with a forced fumble, marking the 4th multi-sack game of his career … LB Omar Gaither also set a career high with 1.5 sacks … CB Asante Samuel recorded his second interception as an Eagle and his 18th since 2006, which leads the NFL during that span.

McNabb started off the game with 15 straight completions, breaking his previous record of 14 straight completions to start a game (12/5/04 vs. GB) … Buckhalter caught a career-high six passes, including a 20-yard touchdown, the third of his career … WR Hank Baskett led the team with a career-high eight receptions and a game-high 85 yards.

Brian Dawkins played in his 170th career game, surpassing Chuck Bednarik and moving into second place in franchise history. He trails only Harold Carmichael (180). Dawkins sealed his 100th victory as an Eagle (92 regular season, 8 postseason) after recording a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery of Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter … K David Akers played in his 143rd game as an Eagle, moving past Ron Jaworski and into 10th place in team history. Akers hit two 31-yard field goals, and has connected on his last 26 attempts from inside 40 yards and his last nine overall … T Jon Runyan played in his 131st game as an Eagle, tying T Vic Sears for 20th place in team history.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Penn State - Temple by the numbers

• Penn State has won 35 of its past 44 games overall, including 23 of its 25 home games during the streak.

• Penn State is 56-11 (83.6) in non-conference games since joining the Big Ten, winning its last 10 non-conference contests.
• Penn State leads the series with Temple, 34-3-1, winning the last 26 meetings (25-0 under Joe Paterno.)
• Penn State’s 211 points in the first four games of the season are the most in the 122 years of the program. The 1994 team scored 210 in its first four games.
• The Nittany Lions have scored 40 or more points in their first four games of the season for the first time in program history.
• Penn State has scored 40 or more points in four consecutive games for just the second time under Joe Paterno and the first time since midway through the 1973 season (54-3 vs. Army, 49-6 at Syracuse, 62-14 vs. West Virginia, 42-22 at Maryland).
• The Nittany Lions’ 31 points in the second quarter were their most in a period since scoring 31 in the third quarter vs. Indiana in 2003.
• Penn State out-gained Temple 338 yards to 32 in the first half holding the Owls to minus-9 yards rushing. The Nittany Lions finished with 546 yards, their third game over 500 yards this season.
• The Nittany Lions ran for 303 yards on 45 attempts (6.7), their second game this year with 300-plus yards rushing (334 vs. Coastal Carolina).
• Penn State posted five plays over 20 yards in the game, three went for touchdowns.
The Nittany Lions now have 29 plays over 20 yards on the season, eight for touchdowns. They had 53 total plays over 20 yards last season, 12 for touchdowns.
• Penn State allowed Temple only 16 rushing yards on 28 attempts (0.6), as the Owls became the fourth consecutive team to fail to crack 100 yards on the ground. For the season, the Lions are permitting 52.2 rushing yards per game and 1.8 yards per carry.
• Penn State scored three touchdowns in a span of 5:04 to take a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
• Temple’s third quarter field goal broke a string of 10 consecutive quarters in which Penn State held the Owls scoreless, dating to a field goal in the fourth quarter of the meeting in 2003.
• Penn State racked up a season high (7) sacks in the game with three players posting two or more. It marked the most sacks for Penn State, which entered the game with nine on the season, since posting seven vs. Florida International in the first game of last season.
• LB Navorro Bowman made his first career start and recorded career highs with 11 tackles (8 solo), three sacks, five tackles for minus-17, a forced fumble and his first career interception. The sacks were his first of the season and he now has four total for his career. Bowman leads Penn State with 35 tackles (20 solo) this season.
• DE Aaron Maybin has posted a sack in every game this season. He got his fifth and sixth on the year in the first quarter, marking his second two-sack game of the season (Coastal Carolina).
• DE Josh Gaines recorded two sacks on the day. He has four for the season and 10.5 for his career. He totaled 4.5 last season.
• CB Tony Davis’ second quarter interception was the third of his career.
• Safety Knowledge Timmons’ fourth quarter interception was the first of his career. Timmons also made a touchdown–saving tackle on Travis Shelton’s 74-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
• TB Stephfon Green posted his first career 100-yard game, gaining 132 yards on just nine carries (14.7). Green had a career long 27-yard run in the second quarter until he broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The 69-yard run was Penn State longest play from scrimmage on the season and its longest run since A.J. Wallace went 76 yards for a touchdown vs. Youngstown State in 2006.
• WR Brett Brackett made his first career touchdown grab in the second quarter on a 20-yard toss from Daryll Clark.
• WR Graham Zug made his first career touchdown catch on a 17-yard slant from Daryll Clark in the second quarter.
• For the third time in four games, the Nittany Lions moved downfield late in the first half and Kevin Kelly kicked a field goal in the final minute. Kelly’s 44-yarder as time expired gave him at least one field goal in a school record 24 consecutive games.
• Kevin Kelly has 62 career field goals, tied for eighth in Big Ten history with Michigan State’s Dave Rayner.
• Penn State was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season.
• Penn State has not been scored on in the first quarter through four games on the season (49-0).
• Penn State has out-scored the opposition 93-20 in the second quarter this season, tallying 31 today.
• TB Evan Royster’s 32-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his second longest run on the season and his seventh touchdown on the season.
• WR Deon Butler’s 49-yard reception in the second quarter was his longest of the season.
• Freshman cornerback D’Anton Lynn saw his first action as a Nittany Lion as a gunner on the punt team. He is the fifth true-freshman to see action on the season.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Miller has new agent

Sixers point guard Andre Miller has reportedly hired Andy Miller as his new agent.

Miller is at the top of the food chain in NBA circles boasting Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups as clients. He also represents Sixers first-round pick Marreese Speights and recent free-agent pick up Donyell Marshall.

Miller's previous agent was Lon Babby, whose clients include Tim Duncan and Ray Allen.

Meanwhile, with training camp on the horizon the Sixers signed a trio of prospects, two with local ties, as camp fodder. On hand will be former Temple forward Antywane Robinson, former Iowa big man Jared Reiner, and former Strawberry Mansion and George Washington guard, Maureece Rice.

Robinson, 6-foot-8, averaged 8.0 points in his Temple career, which ended after the 2005-06 season. During that senior season, Robinson averaged 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds. He spent the 2006-07 season with Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League, where during 49 games he averaged 6.4 points in 16.7 minutes per game. Last season he played in France with Pau-Orthez.

The 6-11 Reiner led the Big 10 Conference in rebounding when he was a junior at Iowa. Undrafted out of college, he played 19 games with the Chicago Bulls in 2004-05.

Rice, a 6-1 guard, was most recently tossed from GW. In high school, Rice scored 2,681 points to break Wilt Chamberlain's (2,206) Philly high school scoring record.


Noons stripped of EliteXC lightweight title

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 19, 2008) – KJ Noons of San Diego has been stripped of his EliteXC lightweight title. The announcement was made late Friday by EliteXC Head of Fight Operations, Jeremy Lappen.

The foremost reason EliteXC is taking this action, Lappen said, was due to Noons’ reluctance to defend against leading 160-pound contender Nick Diaz of Stockton, Calif.

“We are stripping KJ of his championship belt for refusing to defend against Diaz,’’ Lappen said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation but we cannot have belt-holders who refuse to fight the top contenders. We want champions who will fight anyone, anytime, anyplace. That’s the mentality all champions should have.

“I feel very bad for KJ because I like him a lot on a personal level and have always thought he could be a big star. He’s charismatic, has a very exciting fighting style and is a top level fighter. So I’m obviously disappointed that he has chosen to take this stance.

“I don’t understand why he would turn down a chance to be a headliner on CBS on Oct. 4. KJ then turned down the fight again when we offered him a headlining spot on our next SHOWTIME date against Nick. From my view, it is a fight against a top-named opponent in Diaz (someone who beat the No. 1 fighter in the world in his weight class), a fighter KJ has bad blood with and most definitely a fight the fans really wanted to see. It seemed like a great opportunity for KJ to me.

“Personally, I do not think it was a smart career move, but I’m sure he sees it differently. KJ has two more fights remaining on his contract, so we are still looking forward to having him fight for us again soon, but not as our world champion.’’

EliteXC will announce a fight for the vacant lightweight title in the near future, Lappen said.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Andrews doubtful for Sunday

Philadelphia Eagles right guard Shawn Andrews could miss Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to back spasms.

A Pro Bowl selection the past two seasons, Andrews left Monday's game against the Dallas Cowboys in the second half. The 6-foot-4, 340-pounder has not practiced at all this week and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game.

If Andrews is unable to play, he will be replaced by Max Jean-Gilles, who has appeared in six games over his three seasons with the Eagles.

Kimbo, Carano media day

Photos: Monty Brinton/CBS

Hatcher to start season on IR

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren on Thursday afternoon updated the condition of defenseman Derian Hatcher.

Holmgren announced that Hatcher will begin the year on injured reserve and not be on the ice when training camp begins on Saturday.

"Derian's injury situation is something that has been talked about quite a bit this summer. He has been seen by our team doctors a number of times. Today, we are announcing that Derian will not be a player for the start of the season. He will be on the injured reserve list.

"Due to the class and character of Derian, we believe that it is important to continue to let Derian try to make his way back and we will give him as much time as he feels necessary to make a decision, if in fact, a decision is coming in terms of retirement. As of right now he still wants to play. Presently, our doctors don't believe he can. But as I stated, because we are talking about Derian Hatcher and what he has meant to our organization, we feel that allowing him this time to work his way back is the right thing to do. We will see how it goes."

Hatcher responded:

"It's tough. Basically, the doctors are saying that for me to try and play isn't fair to my body and it isn't fair to me. They are afraid that I will end up hurting something else like blowing out my hip, or something like that.

"But, we'll see. I've talked to Paul numerous times this summer and I've talked to him in the past few days. We both agree that I should be placed on IR and see what happens. "It (the knee) doesn't feel great. There no question about that. But, like I said, it is one of those things that you just have to wait and see.

"I talked to Paul and we both felt that this was the best thing to do. If I felt that this was the best thing to do at this time, that means I do believe there is a little bit of a ray of hope. Only time will tell here."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Andrews misses practice again

For the second straight day, Eagles All-Pro guard missed practice with a back injury.

Center Jamaal Jackson also sat out for the second straight day due to personal reasons.

Fullback Tony Hunt (hamstring) and rookie defensive tackle Trevor Laws (quadriceps) were able to go after missing Wednesday's practice.

Flyers sign G Aubin

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed 5’11”, 180-pound goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin to a one-year contract, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

"Jean-Sebastien is a veteran goalie with quality NHL experience,” said Holmgren. “We feel his experience, along with his ability as a goaltender, makes him an ideal fit for our organization."

"I'm happy to come to a great organization like the Flyers,” said Aubin. “I know a lot of the guys on the team. They have a lot of faith in me and it is a really good fit for me to come here.”

Aubin, 31, appeared in 19 regular season games for the Los Angeles Kings during the 2007-08 season, posting a 5-6-1 record and 3.19 goals-against average. He also appeared in 12 AHL games last season, compiling a 6-4-0 record and 2.02 GAA with the Manchester Monarchs and Portland Pirates. He had a 9-3 record and 2.30 GAA in 12 playoff games as Portland advanced to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals.

In 218 career NHL regular season games over nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1998-99 through 2003-04), the Toronto Maple Leafs (2005-06 and 2006-07) and the Kings (2007-08), Aubin has compiled an 80-83-16 record, 2.93 GAA and seven shutouts. He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round (76th overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

August radio ratings

The August ratings book is out and both WIP and ESPN950 showed slight gains. 610 jumped from a 2.4 to a 2.8 while 950 went from an 0.4 to an o.6. We'll post cumulative numbers as soon as we get them.

Pennant race fuels big Phillies ratings

Monday night’s game between the Phillies and the Braves was the highest rated contest of the year on Comcast SportsNet with a 9.4 rating. CSN’s ratings increased 43% in September.
Phillies Grabbing Big Ratings

Meanwhile, the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader vs. Milwaukee earned a 7 rating/15 share at 1:30 p.m. on CW57 and the second game grabbed a 9 rating/14 share at 7:30 p.m.

Both were the highest rated shows in their timeslots except for the NFL games (Giants-Rams and Steelers-Browns).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sixers' Smith undergoes surgery

Philadelphia 76ers center Jason Smith underwent successful ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee today. The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek, the Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon in the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Team physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy observed the surgery.

Smith will stay the night in the hospital and is scheduled to be released tomorrow afternoon.

Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during normal basketball activity on Wednesday, August 6, 2008. No timetable has been set for Smith’s return.

A product of Colorado State University, Smith appeared in 76 games during his rookie season and averaged 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 14.5 minutes per game. In the playoffs, Smith appeared in all six games and posted averages of 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game. In the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League, Smith appeared in five games and averaged 18.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game.

Richards named Flyers captain

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Flyers rewarded Mike Richards on Wednesday, naming the young forward team captain.

"Mike carries a lot of the attributes that we believe a Philadelphia Flyer is all about," said general manager Paul Holmgren. "He is a hard-nosed kid and he has the skill and drive that it takes to excel in the National Hockey League. At this time, we just think that he is the right guy to lead us on the path we want to take."

Richards ranked third on the club with 28 goals to go with a team-leading 75 points and a plus-14 rating over 73 regular-season contests in 2007-08. He followed his best NHL campaign with seven goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games, including a penalty shot tally and a short-handed goal.

In three pro seasons, all with the Flyers, Richards has compiled 49 goals, 141 points and 193 penalty minutes in 211 games.

The 23-year-old native of Kenora, Ontario was given a mammoth 12-year contract extension during last season, a sign that the forward, an alternate captain at that time, might be groomed for a future leadership role with the club.

"It's obviously a privilege to be part of such a prestigious organization and now be captain of it," said Richards. "I am going to do my best."

He became the 17th captain in franchise history and 16th man named to the post, taking over for now-departed free-agent defenseman Jason Smith, who wore the letter last year. Only franchise icon Bobby Clarke served two terms (1972-79; 1982-84).

Forward Simon Gagne and defenseman Kimmo Timonen were named alternate captains.

Gagne, heading into his ninth NHL season, missed all but 25 games last year due to post-concussion syndrome. Timonen recorded eight goals and 44 points in 80 regular-season games in his first season with the Flyers.