Archive for: January 2014

Ka’Deem Carey and Carl Bradford Bid Farewell To Arizona

Bradford

The opening to A Tale of Cities, Charles Dickens’ epic novel novel written about London and Paris, might very well describe the college football landscape of Arizona:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

Rarely does one compare Dickens to college football, but in this case, it holds true. Both of the state’s college football programs, on the brink of reaching their highest level, will wake up tomorrow with the knowledge that a high-profile and highly productive player will be gone—a blow that could send both programs “back to whence they came.”

The University of Arizona’s running back Ka’Deem Carey and Arizona State University’s linebacker Carl Bradford both had a year of eligibility remaining at their respective schools and both declared for the NFL draft on Monday.

Ka’Deem the Dream

NCAA Football: Arizona at Arizona State

Ka’Deem Carey spent only two years at the University of Arizona and is the school’s all-time career rushing leader with 4,232 yards. He ranks seventh all time in Pac-12 history and holds the conference record for most rushing yards in a game with 366 yards against Colorado in 2012.

Carey’s 16-game streak of 100-yard rushing games also tops the Pac-12 record books and is the longest such streak in all of college football over the past decade. He led the FBS in 2012 with 148.4 rushing yards per game, finishing with 1,929 total yards.

As reported by ESPN, Carey noted his appreciation of his tenure at Arizona:

“I’m excited for the next phase of my career and to enter the NFL Draft,” Carey said. “I want to thank God, my family, Coach Rodriguez, Coach Magee and all of my coaches for everything they’ve done for me. My time playing football for Arizona will always be very special to me and I want to thank the fans and the Tucson community for supporting me throughout my career. ”

Carey was a two-time consensus All-American, a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection and the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year for 2013. He was considered a finalist for the Heisman Trophy by many experts but was left off the list of invitees to the annual event in New York City. He was, however, named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award but finished behind Boston College’s Andre Williams in the voting on December 12.

“Ka’Deem Carey was a great player for us,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “We wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career.”

Carey is projected to be drafted late in the first round but could still be on the board come the second round.

 A “Devil” of a Linebacker

Arizona v Arizona StateArizona State’s hybrid linebacker position called the “Devil” backer seemed custom-made for Carl Bradford.

The redshirt junior out of Norco, Calif. decided to forego his senior season and sign with NFL agents Dave Dunn and Justin Schulman of Athletes First according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal hours before the school had given an official statement.

Bradford had a stellar season in 2012 with 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. His 2013 resume sported 61 total tackles, including a team-high 19 for a loss of 107 yards. His 8.5 sacks were tied for the team lead with Davon Coleman. Bradford also led the team with five quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles.

Bradford issued this statement on Monday:

After four great years on the campus of Arizona State University, I have decided to pursue my dream of playing in the National Football League. I have many wonderful memories of my time here, and I will miss playing in front of the terrific Sun Devil fans. Although I will not be on the field in maroon and gold next season, I am excited to cheer on the Sun Devils with all of you. I am honored to be a graduate of ASU and I look forward to supporting the university as a proud alumnus.

Bradford was an integral part of an Arizona State defense that ranked near the top in many FBS statistical categories including most interceptions returned for touchdowns (tied with three others), No. 3 for most interceptions and sixth in interception yards and sacks.

With the graduation of defensive standouts Will Sutton, Chris Young, Alden Darby and Osahon Irabor, Bradford made the right choice by declaring this year as the defense will have plenty of growing pains in the 2014 season.

“It was an honor and a privilege to coach Carl Bradford at Arizona State University. Carl leaves ASU with his degree and that is what we are most proud of,” Coach Todd Graham said in a statement on Monday. “We appreciate Carl for being a great Sun Devil and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

According to Ryan Bafaloukos of House of Sparky:

“Bradford is projected to go as high as the second round by some draft analysts who believe the Arizona State product has tremendous upside as an edge pass rusher at the next level.”

What Lies Ahead?

NCAA Football: Oregon at ArizonaAnd so it begins. Which team will have a tougher time rebuilding? Arizona without Carey or Arizona State without nine defensive starters including Bradford?

The future is yet to be seen but judging from Rivals.com‘s ranking of 2014 draft classes, Arizona State ranks second in the conference and Arizona ranks fourth. The teams rank No. 19 and 23 respectively nationally. Scout.com tells another story altogether ranking the Sun Devils and Wildcats as the top two teams in the conference and No. 11 and 15 nationally.

It’s no secret that both teams will be rebuilding in 2014, but with veteran coaches in Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham, the down time will minimal.

One thing that will always remain the same is that each team circles one date on the calendar every year, the annual meeting for the Territorial Cup. This year it returns to its traditional day after Thanksgiving slot and the University of Arizona will host.

It will be interesting to see where Carey, Bradford and Sutton end up, hopefully not on the same team, that would truly be Dickensian.

Album Review: Pearl Jam ‘Lightning Bolt’

PJam Lightning

Pearl Jam’s 10th offering proves that the innovators of Seattle’s grunge movement still know how to pack a punch. It took over four years for Eddie Vedder and the boys to release ‘Lightning Bolt’ and the wait was definitely worth it.

Since the 1991 release of ‘Ten’, Pearl Jam has defied all the odds that often plague rock bands; the lineup has stayed intact, save for their drummer, Mike Cameron who has only been with Pearl Jam for 15 years. This brotherhood lends to great cohesiveness that shows through on every track on ‘Lightning Bolt.’

At first listen, the album begins with full-on punk rock tracks with short, hard-hitting numbers ‘Getaway’ and ‘Mind Your Manners’. The band flexes also their creative muscles with Pink Floyd influenced tracks ‘Sirens’ and ‘Infallible’ which have a deep, almost psychedelic groove to them that still satisfy the rock quotient

Most surprising was the power-pop anthem ‘Let the Records Play’ which hearkened back to the days when AM radio ruled the airwaves. It’s catchy, sugary-sweet pop make you forget that the song is about how alcohol and music “take away the pain.” Vedder’s knack for haunting ballads also make the cut with ‘Pendulum’ and ‘Yellow Moon’ while the love song ‘Future Days’ completes the album.

This album, as a whole provides great variety for the epic Pearl Jam live shows that have become a must for any fan of rock music or music in general, for that matter. I have grown up with Pearl Jam over the past 22 years and still vividly remember the antics of a crazy front man that opened up for little-known Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in December, 1991. I fell in love with the band that played live on my 25th birthday in 1993 in support of the ‘Vs.’ album and hearing ‘Lightning Bolt’ is another gift that will delight music lovers of all ages.

On the Bowers’ scale of one to five, ‘Lightning Bolt’ receives:

4.5 stars

 

 

 

Track Listing

  1. “Getaway”
  2. “Mind Your Manners”
  3. “My Father’s Son”
  4. “Sirens”
  5. “Lightning Bolt”
  6. “Infallible”
  7. “Pendulum”
  8. “Swallowed Whole”
  9. “Let the Records Play”
  10. “Sleeping by Myself”
  11. “Yellow Moon”
  12. “Future Days”

MUSD Board Continues Talks on Capital Projects

MUSD 2Maricopa Unified School District board members continued to talk about capital projects this week, while also considering whether to reduce the fine teachers must pay if they pull out of their contract early.

Board member Scott Bartle called the board’s on-going discussion on spending bond money approved for capital projects “The longest debate in the history of debates” during Wednesday’s regular board meeting.

The capital project list was discussed at length for the third consecutive meeting with new projects totaling $1.125 million. The two projects discussed were the adventure course at $75,000 and updating the artificial turf for the football field at Maricopa High School for $200,000.

Maricopa High School Principal June Celaya supported the adventure course while Director of Business Services Aron Rausch backed the field repair.

Board Vice President Patti Coutre questioned why the adventure course and football field were high on the list while bathrooms at the multi-purpose room were “disgusting.”

MUSD AdminBoard President Torri Anderson expressed her concern with the continuing discussion.

“It’s frustrating to me that we have been having the same argument for three years trying to decide where to spend the bond money from 2006. The original plan for the bond money was to build the adventure course (called a ropes course at the time) and upgrade the bathrooms in the CTE building and the gym. Here we are three years later, and we still haven’t gone any further in the discussion.” Maricopa voters approved $56 million in bonds to finance the construction of schools and support facilities in November 2006.

Chestnut said that when the board is considering spending more than $1 million on capital projects “it is a big decision and much discussion is needed.”

No action was taken Wednesday.

The board also discussed the liquidated damages fee for teachers who resign early, breaking their contracts. Human Resources Direction Tom Beckett recommended reducing the fee from $1,000 to $250 for teachers and waiving the fee if the contract is broken prior to July 1.

Several board members questioned this proposal because 13 teachers resigned in the past school year and they said the fee isn’t serving as a strong enough deterrent.

Beckett said reneging on a contract raised the possibility of state censure and had “more teeth” to dissuading teachers from breaking their contracts.

MUSD Board President Torri Anderson

MUSD Board President Torri Anderson

Anderson said, “If a teacher is leaving, they will know well before July 1, they will most likely know in June.”

Bartle responded, “Fees should be imposed after the 15-day period when the teacher receives the contract.”

No action was taken.

In other board business:

• Chestnut honored Santa Rosa Elementary School’s lead custodian Enrique Rosiles as the MUSD staff member of the month.
• Chestnut announced the finalists for the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year to be announced at the annual awards banquet on Jan. 18 at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort and Casino. The finalists are Craig Shorey and Diana Volanti from Desert Wind Middle School and Katherine Persitz from Maricopa High School.
• The board approved updated policies on tobacco on school grounds, reporting child abuse, live animals on school property, administering medicine and public solicitation.

Meetings are broadcast live on Orbitel Channel 18; delayed broadcasts can be viewed the following weekend or on Maricopa Unified’s YouTube Channel.

MUSD board looks to snuff out tobacco use on campus

maricopaWhen the Maricopa Unified School District governing board meets Wednesday, members will be looking into revising a number of policies ranging from animals on campus to solicitation in schools.

The use of tobacco on school grounds will be addressed in three separate policies dealing with the substance during the 6:30 p.m. meeting at the district’s offices, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

“All the policies that are being brought before governing board are just updates to policies already in place,” Superintendent Steve Chestnut said Tuesday. “I don’t see any of these policies facing any issues with the board.”

The policies prohibit “the possession or use of tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, electronic cigarettes, other chemical inhalation devices, or vapor products” by students and staff members, as well as the general public. Tobacco products also prohibited on school grounds, parking lots, playing fields, in buses or district vehicles. Use of tobacco also is not allowed at off-campus, school-sponsored events.

Violators will be guilty of committing a petty offense in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes. Disciplinary penalties for students could result in suspension or recommendation for expulsion for multiple infractions.

The policy on reporting child abuse also will be discussed. It states that school staff members or “any person who has the responsibility for the care or treatment of a minor” shall immediately report to a peace officer or Child Protective Services when they “reasonably believe a student is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse, or neglect.”

musd logoPersons failing to report abuse will be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 6 felony, depending on the severity.

Another policy update involves bringing live animals on school buses or into the classroom. The only exception to this policy will be for service animals.

The policy on use of medicine and when it may be administered to students during the day also is being updated. The policy states that “No school will administer medicine to a student without prior written permission from the prescribing physician or parent.” This policy also includes over-the-counter medicine. Medication will need to be delivered to the school by the parent with authorization to administer to the student. The only exceptions to the policy will be for students who need to carry auto-injection epinephrine in case of anaphylaxis, handheld inhalers for breathing disorders and medication for diabetes.

Lastly, the crackdown on public solicitation will be discussed. This policy forbids school employees from “using their position to influence parents or students to purchase books or other merchandise not approved by the superintendent.”

Any solicitations by nonprofits, charitable groups, institutions or organizations must have prior approval of the superintendent.

The governing board meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Meetings are broadcast live on Orbitel Channel 18; delayed broadcasts can be viewed the following weekend on YouTube at Maricopa Unified’s Channel.

For more information on these agenda items and others click here to get to the meeting of your choice, then click on “print agenda” and then go to “detailed agenda.”