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Roundup From BN Walk: Cole's Dominating Summer, Aztec Optimism Via Familiar Names & Other Notes From Memory Lane

Let's start the week with some news from the diamond. Bruin phenom Gerrit Cole's dominating summer continued as the righthander tossed a two hit complete game shut out against Canada on late last week:

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia - UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole recorded seven strikeouts and scattered just two hits in a complete game as the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) blanked Canada, 1-0, Friday evening at the 2009 Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline World Baseball Challenge at Prince George Citizen Field.

Cole (4-0) pitched all nine innings, surrendering two hits, and never allowed a baserunner to reach third. The rising sophomore from Santa Ana, Calif., earned his fourth victory of the summer pitching for the U.S. team. Cole registered three of his seven strikeouts in the ninth inning.

The U.S. team got on the board in the bottom of the second with one run, and Cole helped shut the door against Canada. Yasmani Grandal (Miami) hit a two-out single to left field in the second inning and Andy Wilkins (Arkansas) followed with an RBI-triple off the scoreboard in left-center field.

Too bad another US team playing a more high profile match yesterday experienced the opposite results. Watching that game brought back the feelings of 19-66. I will just leave it at that.

Moving on to football Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, who I believe used to be on XTRA back in the day (is he still on radio?) wrote up a preview of San Diego State firing up the Aztec faithful. He especially used the names of couple of key coordinators (brought in by new HC Brady Hoke), who are familiar names to all of us here on BN:

Prediction Aztecs fans: Things will be different this time around. Meet head coach Brady Hoke and his two coordinators, Rocky Long and Al Borges. [...]

The track record of these men speaks volumes — Hoke at Ball State, Borges at UCLA and Auburn; and Long at New Mexico, UCLA and Oregon State. This head coach, and those two coordinators will be the difference makers. They’ve rebuilt and won before and will do it here.

More from Hamilton:

The Aztecs welcome back quarterback Ryan Lindley, the bright light from a dim football season. State has 12 veterans who had lots of playing time on offense. Thirteen veterans, who started many games, return on defense.

The schedule is downgraded, with Idaho, New Mexico State and Southern Utah as non-conference foes, and features the enemies — BYU and TCU — both at the Q. That should help as the arrow points up. So will this trio of experienced coaches.

Hoke’s sales pitch is simple. "We will be physical, play fast, and be intense."
Borge’s ideals say it all. "We will not be passive on offense."
Long, ever offbeat, chimed in. "We will dictate our terms to the quarterback, and make him cope."

San Diego State fans may not know them very well now. They will be talking about them by the end of the season.

Aztecs football. Era of errors over. Hoke-Long-Borges will see to that.

Well, I think UCLA program and our fans would be well advised not to snicker at this kind of optimism from the San Diego State homers.  As mentioned above, we are all well aware of the track record Borges and Long compiled at UCLA. Those were some of the best years in our recent football history and Hoke himself built a good program at Ball State. So they are going to come out flying at the Rose Bowl. The key for us will be to get ready for them with the same level of focus and intensity we showed at our season opener last year at the Rose Bowl.

Meanwhile, speaking of Borges and Long, their former UCLA head coach - Bob Toledo - who is now the head coach at Tulane made the following quip during Conference USA's media day:

"I don't put a lot of credence in preseason picks," Toledo said. "I remember one year at UCLA we were picked to come in eighth place in the preseason polls (in the Pac-10) and we ended up winning the conference championship. And two years ago, my first year at Tulane, we were picked to finish last in the West Division and we finished third.

"So I just think it's a media thing. Wherever we are picked is fine, but what matters is where you end up."

Tulane returns 14 starters (eight offense, six defense) from its 2008 team, which had injuries to key players at the end of the season and finished 2-10, 1-7 in Conference USA record.

I don't harbor any hard feelings towards Coach Toledo at this point. I wish him luck and hope he does well with the Green Waves at Tulane. Toledo was not a long term fit in Westwood (ala Jim Harrick). However, I will always look back at that 20 game streak with reverence.

Lastly, since we are walking down memory lane of 20 game streak, we will end with this retirement news from Baltimore:

The Ravens suffered another blow at their thin wide receiver position when Drew Bennett announced his retirement Sunday night.

Bennett, who was signed Friday as a replacement for Derrick Mason, stunned the Baltimore Ravens with his retirement announcement and leaves the Ravens in the market for a veteran receiver once again. They have only two wide receivers on their roster that caught a pass for them last year.

"After returning home from Baltimore this weekend, a previous knee injury flared up, making me realize that I am unable to play another NFL season," Bennett said. "Therefore, I have decided to retire from the National Football League. I want to thank Coach Harbaugh, Coach Cameron and Ozzie Newsome for offering me the opportunity to be a part of their outstanding organization, and apologize to them for this unfortunate situation.

I will always remember the catch he made against Oregon towards the end of the game (in which Cade lost his lunch). Who would have imagined Bennett would have had a longer and more productive NFL career than Cade McNown and DeShaun Foster. Bennet  was an amazing athlete and by all accounts a great person off the field. Good luck to Drew.