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Roundup From The BN Walk: News & Notes

Let’s start our walk with some good news up front. The baseball team got back on track with a win over LMU. Here are the top lines from the Daily Bruin on our 6-2 win at Jackie Robinson Stadium:

With six runs in the first two innings and a brilliant performance from a taxed bullpen, the team found the momentum it was looking for on Wednesday.

The Bruins (23-18, 6-6 Pac-10) scored six runs in the first two innings against Loyola Marymount (21-24, 5-10 West Coast Conference), which proved to be more than enough to secure a 6-2 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Wednesday night.

"It was a well-played game," coach John Savage said. "I mean, we jumped on them early. We scored four in the first with a couple outs. ... So we got the early lead and we held on to it, and we got good pitching and good defense. That’s what wins baseball games."

The Bruin hitters were able to take advantage of Lion starter Ernie Cho (1-1), chasing him out of the game after scoring six runs off five hits in just 1.1 innings.

The big blow came in the first inning with two outs and the bases loaded. Right fielder Brady Dolan stepped up to the plate and hit a changeup down the left field line for a triple, clearing the bases and giving the Bruins an early 3-0 lead.
Read rest of the story here. The boys return to action tomorrow at Jackie Robinson Stadium (6 pm first pitch) when they open a HUGE 3 game weekend series against the Sun Devils (35-7, 10-5 Pac-10). Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at 4 and will be televised nationally by FSN. We will throw up first baseball open game threads starting Friday for this big series.

Moving over to Pauley the local papers don’t have any thing more on the Stanback transfer news except for cut and paste articles based on the official news release (which we linked up yesterday). I want to make an additional observation on that development. As I said yesterday we wish Chace best of luck. But to cite this news as an argument that Howland should give freshman more opportunities even if they are making mistakes does not hold up. RW got plenty of opportunities in his first year even though he was playing behind AA and was not as heralded as JK? So what did JK do? He worked away during the off season, physically developed and put himself in position to make solid contributions in his soph. year until he had surgery. But after the surgery instead of getting down on himself, he remained resilient, worked his rear end off, and emerged as one of the key contributors in a Pac-10 championship winning Final-4 team. Hard work, determination, resilience, and tenacity are the key traits of a Ben Ball warrior. JK showed it this past season to get his mins. RW showed it his first season to make an impression. And of course kids like LRMAM showed it their very first season to make an entrance.

And it all starts with willingness to play defense. Even JS despite his shortcomings from long range and occasional defensive lapses was much better (and often Howland’s only option at 3) on D than Stanback. To be honest Stanback looked weak and lost on defense this past season (it was obvious he need to gain more weight and body strength to play Howland defense) and could not stay in front of his man at 3. Stanback playing in garbage time didn’t have to do much with making mistakes. It had to do with not beating out Dragovic in practice in the dept. of playing defense (that's how a Ben Ball warrior earns his mins in our program). He looked like he just wasn’t up to task by Howland standards in his freshman season. There was nothing wrong with that. I think if Stanback stayed and followed the examples of players like JK and RW, he would have improved and emerged as a key contributor in this program. It would have required patience and hard work on his part. But I guess he wants to try to fit in another program. We wish him nothing but luck. For us again it just means Howland gets to bring in another player whose mentality fill fit in with the championship mindset of our program.

Anyway, shifting our attention to football CPBruinFan at Bruin Roar made the following observations on Craft v. C-Force based on his first hand impression from the spring scrimmage:
If I had to pick one to be my starting quarterback right now, I would choose Craft. He just looked more comfortable with the offense and he made fewer mistakes. I think Forcier, as a red-shirt freshman, has some good potential. If he can settle down in the pocket more and not take off scrambling at the first sign of pressure then he'll be a very good QB. His best drive came when he had his best protection and if he can just stick it out in the pocket longer, he'll have fewer sacks and short-yardage runs.

They didn't really air the ball out much, so I can't tell who has the better arm. In the 7-on-7 drills before the scrimmage, Craft looked like he zipped the ball in quicker and was more precise. I also think he makes better reads. He doesn't try to force the ball as much as Chris and I think that comes from his experience.

Neither of them, at this point, look ready to play in a real game. That's understandable given the lack of reps they've received with Cowan and Olson ahead of them on the depth chart. But with both of those guys on the mend, maybe the extra practice will give Craft and C-Force a little more polish on their games. With injuries plaguing Ben his entire career, I think we'll need both of them to stay sharp this season.
Speaking of spring scrimmage, Nebraska blogger Jason Sifring from Big Red Network has a pretty cool post on 2008 college football spring game attendance around the country. The 15,052 announced attendance at the Rose Bowl put UCLA at number 32 in the list. However, considering it was only the first scrimmage at the Rose Bowl in CRN’s first year, the figure is actually pretty good. Nebraska led the nation with 80,149. Alabama and Ohio State was second and third at 78,200 and 76,346. Then again the options for things to do on a spring Saturday in Lincoln, Tuscaloosa, and Columbus, are not the same as the ones available in LA (specifically around West LA). USC led the Pac-10 with 22,000. UCLA was second. Oregon for all its hype and media blitz clocked in at 14,107. 15,052 for a program that is coming off a 6 win season, with two injured QBs, no experience OL is pretty damn good actually. You can only imagine how the excitement will build of CRN methodically builds this program in the coming seasons.