A GRIP ON SPORTS
The big plays earn all the ink. The stars are all over television. The little things get lost in the shuffle. It's the way it's always been and probably always will be. But it isn't right. Read on.
• Who says little things don't matter? Nobody? OK then. But if you want proof for a disbelieving buddy, all you have to do is cue up the video of the final three or four minutes of the Hawks' loss to Denver last night. Seattle's backups just missed on a couple of plays and the game was lost. Little things, sure, but big parts of the 21-16 result. The first one came on the Broncos' final scoring drive. Rookie defensive lineman Cassius Marsh broke through and had quarterback Brock Osweiler (pictured) in his sights on a third-and-long. But in his zeal to make the big hit, Marsh didn't break down, only hit the 6-foot-8 Osweiler a glancing blow and failed to bring him down. Osweiler got away, picked up a first down and, one play later, threw what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown pass. A small correction in technique and Marsh would have squared up Osweiler, ending the play before it got started. But that wasn't the only little breakdown. Just minutes later, the Hawks had a chance to retake the lead. Knocking on the Broncos' goal line with a little more than two minutes remaining, the Hawks came out of a time out with the perfect play call. Rookie running back Demitrius Bronson – who finished his collegiate career at Eastern Washington – was open in the flat, a blocker in front and the end zone beckoning. But he couldn't hang on to Terrelle Pryor's pass, it slipped through his fingers and the chance went a-begging. A little softer toss, a hair better concentration and the Hawks have the go-ahead score. Pryor's next pass was caught, though. By a Bronco. And the game was Denver's. A couple of small plays in a game full of them. Plays the Seattle veterans make game after game. But the newcomers were unable to finish. And that was enough.
• WSU: The Cougars are working on the little things in preseason camp though the big news yesterday was the addition of pads. That and Isiah Myers (pictured) is really good. But that's not news if you've been following the Cougs in recent years – and even the past couple days. Myers has excited everyone watching in Lewiston with a couple of catches that even impressed Mike Leach. Jacob Thorpe has more on Myers' day in his practice summary blog post. Jacob also has a story on the freshman class and how the players fit in along with a morning blog today with links. … Some of the biggest news from around the nation yesterday was the NCAA conditionally granting the five power conferences – the Pac-12, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the ACC and the SEC – a degree of autonomy in the form of more control over rules pertaining to them. Jacob passed along some Pac-12 thoughts on the blog yesterday and we wanted to add some more links. … Andrew Furney had a good first game with the New York Jets. … There are a couple of new coordinators in the conference, both of whom seem to be part of a revolving door. … Hey, WSU's first game is just a few weeks away. It's against Rutgers if you didn't know.
• EWU: There was some sad news in Cheney yesterday when volleyball coach Wade Benson was forced to take a leave of absence due to an ongoing battle with throat cancer. Jim Allen has more in this story and a blog post from yesterday afternoon. … Jim also delves into the inner workings of the Eagles' offensive line, which is being revamped a bit this season. And he has a morning post today with links.
• Idaho: Josh Wright put up a post this morning that examines the Vandals' first few days of training camp.
• Indians: A lot has changed from the first half of the Northwest League season to its second half. Chris Derrick has a handle on the standings in this blog post and a look at the Indians' latest loss, 7-3 to Everett last night at Avista.
• Preps: Gonzaga Prep star Laura Stockton was featured on ESPN's website yesterday.
• Seahawks: I'm sure all the Bronco fans out there, including my friend Kent, can now forget the Super Bowl result. After all, the result of a preseason exhibition game decided by guys who may not be wearing the uniform in two weeks means just as much. As Sheldon might ask, “sarcasm?” Yes. Though the result did mean something to Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson who, I suspect, have both wanted to win every game they have ever played, including Wilson's hop-scotch battle with Mary Lee Stevenson from down the block in second grade. … The offensive line will need some shoring up, but we knew that going in. … The game was delayed for a while by lightning, which gave folks in Seattle a chance to catch-up on their “Cops” reruns. … As always, exhibition or not, there were a few folks who were banged up during the game.
• Mariners: The M's scored 13 runs and won by 10? They hit four home runs? The pitching was once again solid, if not spectacular? Is this 2001? Nope. Just the 2014 team finding its footing in early August. Maybe, maybe not. Whatever, it was good win over a White Sox team that has an awful bullpen. … Roenis Elias started, earned his ninth win and then was on his way to Tacoma. The idea is to ease up on his innings. … Willie Bloomquist is going to have surgery on his knee. He may be back this season. … Lloyd McClendon doesn't mind when the right people take a third strike. The right person, actually. Austin Jackson to be precise.
• Sounders: Landon Donovan is going to hang ups his cleats at the end of the MLS season. The best American player of his generation has his last regular season match scheduled for Seattle in October. … The Sounders traded David Estrada to D.C. United for a draft pick.
• TGIF. I mean that. Friday's are fun. So are Saturdays and Sundays. Even in (semi) retirement, I understand that. Wait, it is Friday, isn't it? I get the days all mixed up nowadays. Now where are my car keys? Until later …