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  • Sharing his knowledge

    By: Cliff Smelley, Telegraph Staff Writer July 01, 2004

    Cleveland Browns player Gerard Warren hosts a football clinic for kids in the area.

    He was a first-round NFL draft choice and is preparing to enter his fourth year as a starter on the defensive line for the Cleveland Browns, yet Gerard Warren, a 1997 Union County High School graduate, looks at Bennie Alexander and admits he's a little jealous.

    Why? Because Alexander, a former teammate of Warren's at UCHS and the University of Florida, is an assistant coach at UCHS. Warren, who is also known as "Big Money," said coaching one day is something that interests him.

    "I want to share the knowledge that was shared with me," he said.

    Warren, the 25-year-old son of Charles and Joann Warren of Raiford, settled for sharing that knowledge during a football clinic on June 25 at Citizens Field in Gainesville. The clinic, which is being planned as an annual event, was attended by more than 50 youth ages 8-17.

    "We had a fairly decent turnout and things went quite well aside from the Florida heat," Warren said.

    The clinic was cut short because of how hot it was. Still, the youth who attended participated in basic football drills and interacted with Warren and other former UF players, including Andra Davis (a teammate of Warren's in Cleveland), Jabar Gaffney, Terry Jackson, Bobby McCray and Mike Nattiel. Some fun games and activities were also in the mix among the drills and the clinic concluded with an autograph-signing session.

    Warren said the main thing he wanted to accomplish with the clinic was to allow kids to have a good time. He was satisfied to "see them go home with a smile on their face and know that they enjoyed themselves."

    Warren has some free time now before reporting for the start of training camp on July 30. As he reflects back upon how he has changed from his rookie year in the NFL, Warren said he has become better at recognizing plays by an opposing team's offense throughout the course of a game as well as maturing both as a player and a person.

    "The first year, to me, was like high school-just playing football and having fun," Warren said.

    Cleveland was 7-9 during Warren's rookie season, then finished 9-8 in 2002 with a playoff berth. However, the Browns struggled last season, winning only five games.

    The Browns' defense finished last season ranked 15th (out of 32 teams) in the league, allowing 309.9 yards per game. The defense allowed 14 points or less in eight games, yet the team's offense averaged only 15.9 points per game and finished ranked 26th in the league. Cleveland hopes to upgrade its offense with the addition of such players as quarterback Jeff Garcia (free agent from San Francisco) and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (first-round draft choice out of the University of Miami).

    Still, there is some pressure on the defense to improve. The team will enter the season with four first-round draft choices, including Warren, on the defensive line. Warren said the defense just needs to become a cohesive unit, but he added, with a sound of frustration in his voice, that is hard to accomplish in the NFL nowadays.

    "Free agency breaks down a team's chemistry," he said. "Every year brings in somebody new."

    Warren said he is optimistic about his team's chances with the additions through free agency and the draft. He likens the Browns to the Union County Tigers after the 1996 season-desperately wanting to get back to the state championship game. The Tigers, following three consecutive berths in the state finals, went seven years before making it back to the championship game.

    Cleveland, like those UCHS teams during that span, is hungry for a shot at a title.

    "That's the spirit of the team right now," Warren said.

    For his part, Warren just wants to play his best and make the people of Union County proud of him. One can detect the love Warren has for Union County in his voice. He especially has fond memories of playing football at Union County High School and for former head coach Robby Pruitt.

    Pruitt helped him as much as anybody to play in the NFL, Warren said. Work ethic, determination, focus, integrity, character-Warren said he learned it all from Pruitt.

    Warren said he has had a great relationship with all of his coaches over the years. Bradford High School assistant coach Steve Hoard, who was Warren's position coach at UCHS and who gave him the nickname "Big Money," was like a brother to him, Warren said. In fact, Hoard and every other coach he's had (including his current coaches) have shown care for Warren not just as a player, but as a human being.

    "All of my coaches have been great," Warren said.

    Union County head coach Buddy Nobles was the defensive coordinator at UCHS when Warren played there. Nobles watched Warren terrorize opposing teams' quarterbacks, but should Nobles be watching his own back now? Warren said he'd love to return to UCHS one day and become the head football coach.

    "He better keep an eye on me," Warren said of Nobles.

    You can almost hear Warren chuckling to himself when he says this, knowing that he really doesn't want to take a job at Nobles' expense. Yet in the same breath, Warren sounds serious about becoming a coach one day. When that day will come, if it comes, is uncertain, but Warren knows his playing days won't last forever. He knows his career could end the next time he steps onto the field.

    "I tell people I'm one play away from never playing again," he said.

    Fortunately, Warren has not sustained any major injuries during his career. Warren, who was the third overall choice in the 2001 draft, has appeared in 47 games with the Browns, starting all but one. He has 130 (109 solo) tackles and 12.5 quarterback sacks during his career.

    Last season, Warren had 32 tackles, 25 of which were solo. He was second on the team with a career-best 5.5 sacks.

    The Cleveland Browns start the 2004 season on Sunday, Sept. 12, when they host Baltimore.
    Curly ~ Horns

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  • RamWraith
    A new start for DHS grad
    by RamWraith
    By Michael Mirer/Enterprise staff writer

    Published Jul 30, 2006

    No one gets excited about training camp.

    So it’s not exactly eagerness that Jason Fisk is feeling as he prepares for his 12th NFL season. But after an unhappy 2005, one in which he was stuck playing out of position for a struggling team, the impending season should feel like a breath of fresh air and a chance to have a new start.

    “It’s a necessary evil before you get to the fun part,” said Fisk, 33. “We’ve got a chance to be a pretty good team.”

    The St. Louis Rams will be the Davis High graduate’s fifth NFL team since he broke into the league with the Vikings in 1996 out of Stanford. He signed with the Rams in June after being granted his release from the Cleveland Browns in April.

    Fisk said he had considered retirement after leaving the Browns.

    In Cleveland, Fisk lost his starting job as a new coaching staff overhauled the team’s defensive alignment, switching from four defensive linemen and three linebackers (4-3) on most plays to the opposite alignment (3-4). In the 4-3, defensive players are asked to attack the backfield.

    In the 3-4, they are generally asked to occupy blockers so the linebackers behind them can make the majority of the tackles. Fisk, who at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds is considered undersized for an NFL defensive tackle, was asked to play nose tackle for the Browns, a position that usually requires an especially enormous player.

    As point of reference, Fisk’s replacement in Cleveland is former Raider Ted Washington, who weighs 365 pounds.

    The Rams offered him the chance to play in a system similar to the one employed by Tennessee, with whom Fisk went to the Super Bowl in 2000. St. Louis’ new coaching staff also wanted him to play as part of a rotation at defensive tackle, taking about 25 snaps per game.

    “That’s a good amount for me,” Fisk said. “Any more than that and my age starts to show.”

    Before the Rams reported for training camp Thursday, Fisk had been around his new teammates once this year, at St. Louis’ mandatory minicamp last month. But he likes the atmosphere so far.

    “You never know how you’re going to fit in coming into a locker room,” Fisk said. “I had some experience when I went back for minicamp. It’s a good group of people, which will make it an easier transition.

    “Everyone’s on their toes a little bit,” he said. “This is actually the third time I’ve come in with a new coaching staff. People watch themselves pretty closely because they don’t really know what to expect.”

    He’s spent his offseason in Davis with his family, working out at Peak Performance Gym and doing his running in the Greenbelt.

    “I’ve done my own program, doing the things that work for me,” Fisk said. “Mostly...
    -07-31-2006, 04:57 AM
  • Ramone
    Bernard Scott - New Chief In Town
    by Ramone
    After everyone thought that Bengals theoretically can't get any more 'issue' players, they showed how wrong we were. Here comes the Bernard Scott, running back from Abilene-Christian! Probabation officers must be their best scouts. Here's something about this guy (NY Times).

    He did not play his senior season after being involved in an off-field fight. He has been arrested at least five times and is finishing 18 months of probation for giving false information to a police officer during a traffic stop. He is attending his fourth college since 2003.
    But his explosive ability as a running back has provided ample opportunities for redemption, the latest one at Abilene Christian University. During a 93-68 victory last Saturday against West Texas A&M, Scott accounted for 353 all-purpose yards and 7 touchdowns.
    A 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior, Scott leads N.C.A.A. Division II in scoring (17.5 points a game) and all-purpose yards (248.8). And he is one of eight finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is given to the top player in Division II.
    Although Scott’s talent has never been questioned, his off-field behavior could pose concerns for N.F.L. teams.
    “Some people might hold it against me or whatever,” he said. “But it made me a better person, because I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
    Candid when interviewed about some of his past legal troubles, Scott, 24, failed to mention that he was arrested June 28 on a misdemeanor charge of fleeing a police officer in his hometown, Vernon, Tex. He posted $750 bond, and the case is pending.
    Abilene Christian Coach Chris Thomsen said he was unaware of the incident.
    “I wouldn’t have him on my team or wouldn’t have him on our campus if I didn’t trust the kid,” Thomsen said. “I’ve seen him grow immensely as a football player and a person.”
    After abruptly leaving Southeastern Oklahoma State University following a redshirt season, Scott transferred to the University of Central Arkansas in 2004. He rushed for 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named the Gulf South Conference freshman of the year before being dismissed.
    Central Arkansas Coach Clint Conque said he removed Scott for striking a coach who tried to break up a fight on the field in the spring of 2005. Scott denied that he hit a coach.
    “He’s a tremendous, tremendous football player,” Conque said by telephone. “He hates school, doesn’t trust a lot of people and obviously has some anger issues. I’m hoping that he’s matured some, but he maybe is one of the best pure running backs as far as balance, skills sets, vision and elusiveness.”
    After a stint trimming trees in Florida, Scott returned home in 2005. While there, he said, he did not work and hung out with a rough crowd. “I was just running around doing foolish stuff,” he said.
    Scott resurfaced in 2006 at Blinn College in Texas, where he rushed for 1,892 yards and 27 touchdowns. He was named the most valuable player...
    -04-26-2009, 05:45 PM
  • Nick
    Pete Carroll back in the NFL?
    by Nick
    Does winning get old?
    Colleagues: Carroll will try NFL again
    By Scott Wolf
    Staff Writer

    With a 17-game winning streak and victories in 28 of the past 29 games, it's difficult to see any problems in USC coach Pete Carroll's world.
    The No. 1-ranked Trojans are winning with a frequency not seen since the glory years of the 1960s and '70s as they charge toward a possible trip to the Orange Bowl and a national championship.

    "Winning is so much fun," Carroll said. "It's awesome to figure out how to keep it going. I think it's possible to keep it going."

    Can winning become too easy? Can a coach bred in the NFL, where parity is the norm, be content winning week after week against the Washington States and Oregon States of the college world?

    "I think he's going to get bored," said a close associate, who asked to not be identified. "It's not enough of a challenge for him."

    Another friend -- Washington Redskins secondary coach Dwayne Walker, who spent a year with Carroll at USC -- said he wouldn't be surprised if Carroll returned to "the league," as those who work in the NFL call it.

    "I know he enjoys what he's doing," Walker said. "He's doing and (has) done everything he set out to do at USC. Knowing Pete like I do, he would be one of the top coaches in the NFL. I still think there's a little bit left in him that wants to prove critics wrong, and try to come back and do in the NFL what he did in college."

    Carroll disputes the idea that success breeds contempt, and he's too cagey to admit winning is too easy. But he doesn't argue that winning in the NFL is more difficult than in college football.

    "The competition is more even in the NFL," he said. "I think it's an extraordinary accomplishment what the Patriots did, winning 21 straight games. Sometimes the NFL is harder."

    USC assistant coach Todd McNair, who spent the past three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, is more emphatic about the contrast.

    "(College football) is nowhere near as complex as the NFL," McNair said. "In the NFL, if a protection works one week, it won't work the next week."

    For the ultracompetitive Carroll, it might reason that coaching at "the highest level" is vitally important, but he said college teams still impress him when he's watching game film -- most recently Boise State, which he observed while scouting Oregon State, this week's opponent.

    "Boise State runs more formations than anyone I've seen," he said. "There's a whole wide range of offenses to face in college. In the NFL, they're sophisticated in a whole different manner. Everyone runs the same offense, but you've got more variants. They tweak more in the NFL."

    -11-11-2004, 08:18 AM
  • MauiRam
    Good story ... and apparently the Rams are interested ...
    by MauiRam Page 2

    Friday, April 27, 2007
    Updated: May 1, 6:16 PM ET
    Glasper learns the hard lessons of football

    By Alan Grant
    Special to Page 2

    There's a difference between pain and injury. Pain is fleeting. Even in various degrees of discomfort, it's possible to function at a very high level of competency. Any athlete knows this. But injury is lasting. Injury has the power to rob us of our dreams. Injury makes us mortal.

    Boston College safety Ryan Glasper, who went undrafted this weekend, knows pain. It's the kind of pain that accompanies many citizens of New Britain, Conn., or "Hard-Hittin' New Britain," as it's called. The city of 70,000, once a thriving factory town, is now known for its housing projects. As a kid, Glasper was innately rambunctious, engaging in activities like jumping off the second floor of a house onto a mattress. His mother, Brenda, suggested football was a great way to deal with his reckless sensibility. This proved a great solution. He was a natural at running into things.

    The family had what he calls financial difficulties.

    "I didn't really know it at the time," he says. "I was a happy kid. But looking back on it in retrospect, I can see we had it hard."

    When it became evident Brenda could no longer provide a home, Glasper's Pop Warner football coach contacted Jude Kelly, the football coach at Southington (Conn.) High School. He and Glasper's mother determined that the best thing for the young man was a change of address and a school district that offered him better opportunity for growth.

    Glasper moved into the Kelly residence and once classes began, so did the pain. There were only about five black kids in the school. His wardrobe was typical inner-city: Roca Wear, worn in a baggy style.

    After playing through a hip injury as a senior, Glasper went undrafted.

    "I wasn't wearing Abercrombie and Fitch," Glasper says. "I stood out, so they called me a thug."

    In the first week, one white student called Glasper the n-word.

    This led to a violent retort, the first of many. By the time that first semester ended, Glasper had been labeled a problem.

    "Let's just say I was written up a few times," Glasper says.

    He was something of a problem at home, too. Kelly was Catholic and attending mass was a regular habit for members of the Kelly household. But Glasper wanted no part of it, so he resisted the way any adolescent resists.

    "I used to call him Pope Kelly because he went to church so much," Glasper says. "If communion started at 11:40, I would argue with him until 11:35."

    But it takes just one...
    -05-02-2007, 11:17 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Former UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden Dies
    by r8rh8rmike
    Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden dies
    By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
    Jun 5, 3:27 am EDT

    LOS ANGELES (AP)—John Wooden, college basketball’s gentlemanly Wizard of Westwood who built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports at UCLA and became one of the most revered coaches ever, has died. He was 99.

    The university said Wooden died Friday night of natural causes at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he had been since May 26.

    Wooden remained beloved by many of his former players, several of whom visited him in recent days to say their goodbyes.

    Related Video Wooden's legacy Wooden's legacy


    Among them was Bill Walton, whose voice caught as he spoke of the man he hailed as a teacher first and a coach second.

    “He’s the greatest,” Walton said the night before Wooden’s death. “We love him.”

    Jamaal Wilkes said he recognized what he called “that little glint” in Wooden’s pale blue eyes.

    During his second visit Wednesday night, Wilkes asked Wooden if he recognized him.

    “His glasses fogged up, and he had to clean his glasses,” Wilkes said. “He looked at me and said, ‘I remember you, now go sit down.”’

    Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and current UCLA coach Ben Howland were among Wooden’s final visitors.

    “I just enjoyed him and the twinkle in his eye,” Howland said, noting Wooden told a few jokes from his hospital bed. “I’m just the steward of this program. It’s always going to be his program.”

    Jim Harrick is the only coach in the post-Wooden era at UCLA to win a national championship. When the Bruins reached the 1995 Final Four in Seattle, Harrick repeatedly urged Wooden to attend. He had stopped going after his wife died 10 years earlier.

    “You don’t know how stubborn he was,” Harrick said by phone from Orange County, Calif. “Finally, he did come, and it was a tremendous thrill.”

    With his signature rolled-up game program in hand, Wooden led the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships, including an unmatched streak of seven in a row from 1967 to 1973.

    Over 27 years, he won 620 games, including 88 straight during one historic stretch, and coached many of the game’s greatest players such as Walton and Lew Alcindor—later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    “It’s kind of hard to talk about Coach Wooden simply, because he was a complex man. But he taught in a very simple way. He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released through UCLA.

    “He set quite an example. He was more like a parent than a coach. He really was a very selfless and giving human being, but he was a disciplinarian. We learned all about those aspects of life that most kids want to skip over. He...
    -06-05-2010, 08:52 PM