Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For Mercyhurst star, college keeps getting better

Bailey Bram is one of the best players in women's college hockey, and she's had the privilege at Mercyhurst of playing with a previous Kazmaier Award winner and going to the Frozen Four twice. Yet this season is proving to be her favorite, because the Lakers are silencing some doubters and she gets to play with her younger sister, Shelby, for the first time. Her story, as part of the Kaz Watch series for USA Hockey: http://www.usahockey.com/patty_kazmaier/default.aspx?NAV=AF_10&id=298776&DetailedNews=yes

New coach promises Raiders will be disciplined

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New coach Dennis Allen says defensive lapses, too many penalties will be eliminated with a focus on discipline. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Dennis-Allen-Promises-to-Bring-Discipline-to-Raiders-138402679.html

Monday, January 30, 2012

Two American trampolinists are flying high

Steven Gluckstein and Savannah Vinsant recently locked up spots for the U.S. trampoline gymnastics team to compete in the London Olympics this summer. That doesn't mean each is going, however. Now Gluckstein and Vinsant need to qualify to compete in those spots. Having achieved success already, however, they both are confident they can be the ones. My story for the U.S. Olympic website. http://www.teamusa.org/news/2012/01/30/trying-to-reach-even-higher-heights/46436?ngb_id=3

Will Aldon Smith's arrest impact future plans for him?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers face decisions on 19 free agents this offseason. Will the arrest of Aldon Smith in Florida cause the team to re-think its decision on possibly letting Ahmad Brooks go? http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/49ers-Face-Interesting-Choices-in-Free-Agency-138328719.html

Friday, January 27, 2012

Niners will need to upgrade receiving corps

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: If the 49ers had wide receivers in the NFC Championship
Game, they were largely invisible. If the team wants to improve in 2012, it will need to bring in some new talent. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Need-to-Upgrade-Wide-Receiving-Corps-138201549.html

Jeopardy for Jan. 27 on ESPN.com

So which pop star's mansion is Chris Paul going to buy for $8.5 million? My Jeopardy for ESPN.com's Page 2: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7509418

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is Alex Smith's return to 49ers a sure thing?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Smith wants to return to San Francisco to play quarterback, and the 49ers seem interested in having him return. But is it an absolute certainty? Or would the Niners gamble on going after someone like .... Peyton Manning? http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Smith-Confident-Hell-Return-as-49ers-Quarterback-138130438.html

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

49ers might lose a special coach

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area: Brad Seely, who turned the 49ers special teams into a force, now appears to be a candidate for the head-coaching position for the Indianapolis Colts. It would be a big loss for Jim Harbaugh's staff. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Might-Lose-a-Special-Coach-138043093.html

Turning the page into library's future

As director of library services for the Coronado library, Christian Esquevin is helping the city plan how the facility will be used in the future, as technology evolves and people's needs change. His profile for the On the Job in Coronado series for Coronado Patch: http://coronado.patch.com/articles/coronado-librarian-future-technology-digital-age#c

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

They've stitched their lives (and livelihoods) together

Vickie and Vern Ray never had an idea they'd someday own and operate their own embroidery shop. But when the opportunity arose to buy the store where she worked, Vickie convinced her husband, Ray -- a printer by trade -- that they could make it work. Now, though Vickie says she's never worked this hard in their lives, the two are happily working side by side at TCB Embroidery -- and going to Disneyland whenever they get a free day. Their story, for the On the Job in Santee series: http://santee.patch.com/articles/they-ve-stitched-together-a-new-adventure#c

Cornell star wants to return to Frozen Four

Rebecca Johnston is one of the top women's hockey players in the NCAA, yet until last year she hadn't experienced the Frozen Four. Now, the Canadian Olympian -- who has a gold medal from 2010 in Vancouver -- can't wait to get back, and she'll do anything to help the Big Red reach the NCAA championship tournament again. My profile of Johnston for USA Hockey's "Kaz Watch" series, of the 10 players up for the annual Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in women's hockey.    http://www.usahockey.com/patty_kazmaier/default.aspx?NAV=AF_10&id=311336&DetailedNews=yes

Giants say they targeted concussion-prone Williams

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Kyle Williams isn't making any excuses for his two costly fumbles in the Niners' NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants. But the New York players are saying he looked "dazed" after hitting him hard early, which they had planned to do because he has a history of concussions. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Giants-Suggest-They-Targeted-Williams-Because-of-Concussion-History-137966293.html

Monday, January 23, 2012

Loss was painful, but 49ers have something to build on

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Sunday's NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants was a painful one for the 49ers, and it will take some time to get over. But the coaches and players know they have something to build on now, after a 13-3 season, an NFC West title and a new attitude. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/After-Painful-Loss-49ers-Hope-to-Build-on-Seasons-Success-137889773.html

Two costly mistakes doom 49ers in NFC title game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Kyle Williams will always remember Sunday's NFC Championship Game, but not in a good way. His two mistakes as a punt returner spelled doom for the 49ers, as his muff and a fumble in overtime set the stage for the New York Giants' 20-17 victory and an end to a magical season in San Francisco. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Two-Giant-Mistakes-Doom-49ers-137868228.html

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's ordained: 49ers will win NFC championship today

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: If the Niners' season has been magical, then why shouldn't it keep on going? There's no logic to it, just an unstoppable dynamic. Five reasons the Niners will beat the Giants for the NFC title: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Magic-Will-Continue-Today-137850783.html

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Harbaugh's 49ers reflect his passion for blocking, tackling

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jim Harbaugh may have been a quarterback, but he's always had an understanding of blocking and tackling, and their importance, which is reflected in the 49ers team he's coached into the NFC Championship Game vs. the Giants. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Harbaughs-49ers-Get-Down-and-Dirty-137820523.html

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aztecs' Tim Shelton has 'Motto' mojo with hot video

On the court, he's Tim Shelton, a fifth-year forward on the 16th-ranked San Diego State basketball team. Off the court, he's TES, a young rapper who constantly is sifting through the beats and rhymes in his mind. He's struck gold the past week with "Aztec Motto," a slickly produced video about his team, its fans and his teammates past and present that's getting a "lotta love" since its unveiling. My story for ESPN.com's Page 2: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/thelife/music/news/story?id=7483554

49ers-Giants clash for NFC title will be a brawlgame

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Two physical, defense-minded teams clashing for a trip to the Super Bowl? Yeah, figure this won't be a finesse game. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Giants-Ready-for-a-Brawlgame-137763253.html

Jeopardy for Jan. 20 on ESPN.com's Page 2

Who was that big, bad guy on the curling rink? My Jeopardy for ESPN.com for Jan. 20: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7482637

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Niners DBs have been a hit this season

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco's secondary was a giant question mark before the season, but all questions have been answered. The secondary is a primary reason the 49ers' defense is one of the best. But, it will be challenged by the Giants Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-DBs-Have-Been-a-Hit-But-Know-They-Face-a-Challenge--137678228.html

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Giants and Niners playing Words With (Not)Friends

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The NFC Championship Game is Sunday, but already the 49ers and Giants are doing some hitting ... of the verbal variety. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Giants-Trading-Some-Barbs-137572183.html

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wisconsin star Hilary Knight more than just a scorer

Hilary Knight is an All-America star for Wisconsin's women's hockey team, and the Badgers' all-time leading scorer. In fact, since coming to Wisconsin, Knight has been among the best goal-scorers in the NCAA. Yet she's not just a scorer. She has an all-around game. Her profile for USAHockey's "Kaz Watch" feature, profiling the top players in women's college hockey leading up to the award of the Patty Kazmaier Award in March. http://www.usahockey.com/patty_kazmaier/default.aspx?NAV=AF_10&id=311030&DetailedNews=yes

Nation is seeing the "new" Alex Smith

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Smith's performance in the playoff victory over the Saints has given the nation a glimpse of his growth this season under Jim Harbaugh. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Nation-is-Seeing-a-New-Alex-Smith-137486653.html

Monday, January 16, 2012

Niners get to play at home, Giants get another shot to beat them

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Everything is coming up golden for the 49ers, who now don't have to travel to Green Bay for an NFC title game because of the Giants victory over the Packers Sunday. But the Giants, too, get what they wanted, a chance to beat the 49ers -- after losing to them in November -- and advance to the Super Bowl. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Giants-Both-Get-What-They-Want-137419598.html

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Alex Smith's heroics lead 49ers to wild playoff victory over the Saints

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Smith has labored for years in San Francisco, hearing far more jeers than cheers, but Saturday -- in the first playoff game of his career -- Smith led the 49ers on two late scoring drives as San Francisco beat New Orleans 36-32 to earn a trip to the NFC Championship Game. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Smith-Leads-Amazing-49ers-Comeback-137360158.html

Friday, January 13, 2012

Niners confident they can beat the Saints

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: It's a clash of styles Saturday in the NFC divisional-round playoff game at Candlestick Park, with the high-scoring Saints vs. the defensive-minded 49ers. The Niners aren't as flashy, but say they have what it takes to tackle New Orleans. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Confident-They-Have-What-it-Takes-to-Beat-Saints-137282548.html

Jeopardy for Jan. 13 on ESPN.com

This pitcher can't pitch without his Taco Bell feast. My Jeopardy for ESPN.com's Page 2: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7458273

Thursday, January 12, 2012

49ers' 3-4 defense could make Saints uncomfortable

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Saints put up big numbers against every team but, over the past two years, they've had more trouble with teams that run 3-4 defensive schemes like the Niners. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-3-4-Defense-May-Pose-Problems-for-Saints-137183683.html

Todd Bowles emerges as Raiders coaching candidate

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New GM Reggie McKenzie has a lot on his plate, including selecting a new head coach to replace Hue Jackson. Todd Bowles of the Dolphins has emerged as the first name on McKenzie's short list of possibilities. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Bowles-Emerges-as-First-Candidate-to-Coach-Raiders-137188228.html

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raiders won't be feudal or futile in Mark Davis era

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Mark Davis acted quickly once the season was over, hiring Reggie McKenzie as GM, who ousted head coach Hue Jackson. My ceding control of the franchise to a "football man," Al Davis' son signaled the start to a new -- and better -- era for the silver and black. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Raiders-Signal-They-no-Longer-will-be-Feudal-or-Futile-137116148.html

49ers confident they can deal with Saints' blitz

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: In August, the Saints' blitzing defense overwhelmed the 49ers in an exhibition game. But that was months ago, and the 49ers now say they will be able to deal with New Orleans' pressure when they meet Saturday in an NFC playoff game. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Confident-They-Can-Beat-Saints-Blitz-137098363.html

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

With time to rest, Gore is now good to go vs. Saints

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Running back Frank Gore took a beating this season, rushing for more than 1,200 yards. But by taking much of the season finale off, and earning a bye week, the 49ers veteran feels recharged and ready to go for the first playoff game of his career Saturday vs. the Saints. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/With-Time-to-Rest-Gore-is-now-Ready-to-Go-vs-Saints-137018953.html

Monday, January 9, 2012

Is "Marty Ball" about to make a comeback?

There are a few reasons the Tampa Bay Bucs would want Marty Schottenheimer, at 68, to be head coach. My piece for ESPN.com's Page 2: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7443169

Can 49ers find a way to slow down the Saints?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website. Yes, the Saints are hot. They brushed aside the Lions in the NFC wild-card matchup Saturday, and now come to San Francisco with an offense that's running at full speed. But the Saints can be stopped; they were beaten three times this season and are a different team on the road than at home. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Saints-Are-Hot-but-They-Have-Been-Stopped-136942193.html

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jeopardy for Jan. 6 on ESPN.com's Page 2

Where else can you find information about Cubans and Bassmaster anglers? My Jeopardy for Jan. 6 on ESPN.com's Page 2: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7431549

Niners found gold in 2011 NFL draft

Daily blog for NBC Bay Area website: Pass rush star Aldon Smith, fullback Bruce Miller and running back Kendall Hunter were just three of many impact rookies taken by the 49ers in the April draft. The rookies helped the team to a 13-3 record and an NFC West title. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Struck-Gold-With-Rookie-Class-136817128.html

Thursday, January 5, 2012

McKenzie would bring Packers philosophy to Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Reggie McKenzie, known as an expert talent evaluator, might be just the fit for the Raiders, who are looking for a new GM. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/McKenzie-Would-Bring-Packers-Philosophy-to-Raiders-136744078.html

Owner-GM-coach combination set up Niners for success

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: 49ers owner Jed York knew what to do: pick the right football people and get out of the way. Now, under Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh, the Niners are back in the playoffs after a long drought. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Foundation-for-49ers-Success-Started-at-Top-136740628.html

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hue Jackson isn't blameless in Raiders collapse

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: While Hue Jackson is spreading blame on others in the organization for the team's collapse late this season, some say the Raiders head coach might want to look in the mirror and see the true culprit. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Jackson-Not-Blameless-in-Raiders-Collapse-136668123.html

Twin curlers are chips off the old rock

Sarah and Taylor Anderson, 16-year-old twins from Pennsylvania, will be competing for the U.S. this month in the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in the sport of curling. The fact they've chosen curling as their athletic obsession is no coincidence, because it's the passion of their father, Wayne, who had them on the ice when they were toddlers ... chasing after their older sisters. Their story for the U.S. Olympic website: http://www.teamusa.org/news/2012/01/04/twin-curlers-have-double-the-fun/46001?ngb_id=3

49ers hope red-zone improvement helps offense

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: For much of the season, the 49ers were woeful in the red zone. But over the final three weeks of the schedule, San Francisco made some improvements that paid off with TDs in six of eight red-zone chances. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Have-Hope-With-Improved-Red-zone-Offense-136664953.html

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jackson, confident of job, says he's part of Raiders' solution

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: A day after ranting about his players and his defense, Hue Jackson -- apparently confident in his position as head coach -- says he knows what needs to be done to make the team better and wants to have input into the selection of a new GM. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Jackson-Confident-Hes-Part-of-Raiders-Solution-136599803.html

They may not be flashy, but 49ers can be formidable

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: If the 49ers want to get to the Super Bowl, chances are they're going to have to beat the Saints and Packers, two teams that light up the scoreboard and make San Francisco look pedestrian. But the Niners believe what they do -- defense, special teams and taking care of the football  -- can translate into a winning playoff formula. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Niners-Believe-They-Can-Find-a-Way-to-Win-Against-Anybody-136596533.html

All signs pointed to overcoming his obstacles

John Morley was stricken with polio as a child, but never let it hold him back. He took his mother's words to heart and tried everything that he wanted to do and that other children were doing, including climbing trees. That attitude has helped him succeed in life, and today the Santee signmaker and Chamber of Commerce president is doing just fine. His profile for the "On the Job" series for Santee Patch: http://santee.patch.com/articles/for-him-all-the-signs-pointed-up#c

Monday, January 2, 2012

Niners, in workmanlike fashion, now focus on playoffs

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jim Harbaugh was relieved his team was able to hold off the Rams Sunday and secure a first-round playoff bye. The 49ers, who efficiently focused on improving themselves all season, now know they have two weeks to get ready to win their first playoff game since the 2002 postseason. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Serious-Workmanlike-Niners-Now-Focus-on-Playoffs--136531863.html

Jackson, "pissed" at his Raiders, vows to make changes

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Hue Jackson, angry that his team missed the playoffs, calls out his team and vows to make changes. The first casualty may be defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, whose defense was consistently awful in 2011. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Angry-Jackson-Rips-Team-Vows-to-Make-Significant-Changes-136533223.html

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Niners beat Rams, clinch No. 2 playoff seed

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jim Harbaugh's team concludes its first regular-season schedule by beating the Rams to finish 13-3 to lock up the NFC's No. 2 playoff seed and a first-round bye. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Niners-Hang-on-to-Beat-Rams-Clinch-No-2-seed-136507468.html

Volunteering has put her in the driver's seat

Cheryl Roberts used to think about volunteering, but with a fulltime job and kids to raise, she just didn't have the time. Now Roberts has retired and for three years has been a volunteer driver for the Rides4Neighbors program, giving rides around the county to the elderly and disabled. It has been an enriching experience, she says. Her story for La Mesa Patch: http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/story-for-january-about-good-deeds#c