Wild American Gooner

When Sports Are More Than Just Sports

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Where to Find Me This Fall & Scattered Thoughts

This past Wednesday, I started an internship at Blackandbluereview.com, a Charlotte-based website that covers the Carolina Panthers. Every Wednesday going forward, I will be heading downtown to help conduct interviews and write articles. My first story came from a ridiculous interview with receiver Philly Brown. You can read that here. Look for at least one of those per week.

Even though I’ve done college basketball coverage for two years, I never really considered it real journalism. I was just a college student after all, even at the NCAA Tournament. But as I stood in the Panthers locker room Wednesday looking for somebody to interview, I realized that I was unabashedly doing real sports journalism. I can’t deny how cool it was standing there interviewing Michael Oher, him of The Blind Side fame, at his locker. I did my best not to be starstruck, but at the end of the day, I am now covering the NFL, and that is just awesome.

At the moment, I’m trying to learn a little about the Panthers each day with a full schedule at school. It’s hectic, but I wouldn’t prefer it another way. So while the content on this site might be sparse and irregular the rest of the fall, I’m still writing. About Davidson for my school newspaper (see my latest piece on our goalkeeper Matt Pacifici here) and about the Panthers.

Now to some scattered thoughts on the world of sports.

-The Patriots offense looked awfully good last night, especially considering that at times, they had three rookies in on the offensive line. Tom Brady just seems to get better each year. There’s no stopping that offense if he, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski stay healthy. However, the defense worries me. DeAngelo Williams should not be looking that good. Once the emotions die down, I think we’ll get a better sense of what kind of a team we really have. But while that wave of hatred is there to ride, I wouldn’t want to play the Patriots.

-Right now, it looks like Ben Cherington’s final success was not trading away Jackie Bradley Jr. “to give him a fresh start.” His presence in the lineup and in the field each day makes baseball worth following. Although I haven’t been able to watch as much as I’d like recently, it brings a smile to my face every time I see what Jackie has done that day. This dismal season has become worth it because of how it gave JBJ chance to resurrect his career in Boston. The next step is putting him in center field every day, but for now, I’ll take him in the lineup. This BBC outfield could be the real deal.

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the Red Sox success right now though. I’m inclined not to trust what Travis Shaw is doing, yet I”m confident that Joe Kelly and Rick Porcello have finally turned the corner in Boston. The way they are playing is going to open up a lot of options to explore in the offseason. Once the ace is mail-ordered, the Red Sox can begin to think about having a legitimately strong team. Plus with all the talent in Single A right now, we have the potential to get really creative with trades.

-Arkansas should have no problem with Toledo tomorrow. While it’s easy to see the blowout of week 1 and immediately discard it, it’s worth remembering that UTEP was no cupcake. And Arkansas tore them apart. I came away incredibly impressed with the state of the defense. The loss of the three core defenders was always going to be overblown, but I wasn’t ready for the defense to look that good already. If tackling improves this week, they should be good to go by the time we get to SEC play in a couple weeks.

Aside from the receivers, who were excellent, I wasn’t as impressed with the offense. Everyone is talking about the improved play of Brandon Allen, but he still has those glaring misses on easy throws that will cost the team points against better teams. And aside from the one long run on a meaningless play, Alex Collins didn’t do a whole lot. The offensive line has to do a better job of making roles at the line of scrimmage, because too often Collins is getting nothing. However, the balance is tremendous. With defenders guessing, Arkansas will be able to lean on play action passes to the real superstar of the team, Hunter Henry. He and Jeremy Sprinkle should tear defenses apart this season.

-Tomorrow should be a good test for Arsenal. But one that if they fail will send out alarm bells. Stoke City has morphed into a pleasing side, but their results show a side that is still coming together. Now is the time to beat them. This is no longer the Stoke team that will sit back and rough Arsenal up, so it’ll be up to the midfielders to create chances. A couple goals would restore confidence in the team. I’m glad to have the EPL back though, as the international break was as boring as a League 2 encounter. Tomorrow will be a good day

-Can it be basketball season already?