Checking in

Hoping to have big news for you on Tuesday, but wanted to tell you that it involves our coverage, which is what I meant by your reward for being so loyal by reading the paper and the blog here as you guys do. You do a tremendous job, and it's because of you that our coverage is possible and I try so hard for you guys.
Expected it today, but should have it Tuesday. Will let you know as soon as I do.
As for the weekend: The men showed marked improvement on offense. With Shemik out (and no, I don't think it's a long-term thing at all, will let you know if that changes), I expected the offense to be awful. But Robby is playing splendidly, and Dave will only get better as he gets back in the flow. Throw in a healthy Shemik and the continued improvement of the newcomers (Markeys I think is going to be a big factor before too long), I think the offense will be ok. I'm not saying they'll score 90 a night and win the league but I like what I've seen lately and think they'll be fun to watch as the year goes along.
The women got a big win at Toothpaste U. I like what they're doing, and really, really think they're on the verge of something here. Throw in the fact that a vast majority of the kids will be back next year, and Beryl is sitting on a goldmine in terms of growth. I really think they're the next Sacred Heart in the women's NEC.
Speaking of improvement, I'm working on a story about next year's recruits, and I think you'll be pleased. Assuming Kenny comes back healthy next year, Central will actually be deep up front. When was the last time we could say that? Not since I've been covering them, that's for sure.
Football: With the holiday and the off week, we laid low on football coverage, and to be honest I'm behind even on checking the boards and my blog email (shoot me a note at Will catch up with all that, and I PROMISE tons on the football team as we get closer to the Classic. Should be fun.
Check this thing Tuesday, will let you know hopefully some fun news.
On a side note, would you guys be interested in furthering the blog part of our coverage? One of the things I want you to email me about is interest in a Twitter type deal, which I'd do much more often since it would just be quick thoughts.
Also remember I blog as much as possible during hoops games. Check especially before the games for news on lineup changes and the like. Also, I do halfitme on the radio and net for every women's home game, check that out. Hoping to do more men's stuff this year on that side.

Bad blogger

I know, I missed two promises to update. But I want you to know it's because something potentially big is going on behind the scenes that will get you guys a pretty cool reward if it works out. I will keep u posted.

Manic Monday

Ok, so Monday's the day to do a lot of catching up here. I'll talk to you guys about football and hoops. It's my day off, so I'll have time.
Wanted to say something quick though.
A word to my fellow Northeastern Huskies, who lost their football program today. We all knew this was coming, but it makes it no less sad. The program was doomed with its awful facilities (you think Arute is subpar? Have Central play its home games on a high school level field next to a regular building that serves as locker rooms, and do it all in the next town over, say Newington, but not the Newington right next door. The other side of town.) and a league that it couldn't compete in.
But those kids busted their butts like anyone else. They deserved better than a press release. The last year could have been special. We all knew this was coming, and NU should have spent the year celebrating the program's history and giving those kids a hell of a send off in the finale.
And no, before you guys start, Central isn't going to the CAA. They're not ready. Let's worry about dominating the NEC for awhile before you try to move up. When Mac talks about "doing things right," he's talking about extra touches like going to SFPA a day early, which costs money. Central did that this time, but would have to do things like that all the time to even consider moving up. Mac's got the right frame of mind for the program in that regard, playcalling aside.
By the way, just bear with the NU alum for a second while he vents: The dumbest thing NU ever did was move to the CAA. The travel budget alone is a killer (in the other sports I'm talking) and NU lost some great rivalries. Just ridiculous.
Which goes back to the argument we had last basketball season. If CCSU ever jumps, it better make sure it goes to the right place. Losing the rivalries with the other CT schools because you think Vermont is a step up in class is VERY dangerous. Part of what made that Monmouth comeback so special is that it came against Monmouth. Fit is just as, if not more, important in finding a league than competitive level.
I have to find the dream conference a friend and I made when we figured out that the Big East would someday split into football and non-football, which I promise will happen someday. Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and the like are going to be looking for leagues. Team them with the old AE schools who left the league and say CCSU and Quinnipiac. Now you're talking. You'd stay in the NEC for football, like Albany.
Ok, enough rambling. We'll talk tomorrow.


No CCSU. Gridiron Classic here they come.
I'll have to check Eastern Illinois, but my guess is they had a much better schedule.

check that

I think it's ESPNNews. I'll get the results up here asap, so don't worry if you don't have advanced digi cable.

Hey guys

Lots of football to catch up on, hoops too, just wanted to tell ya why I'm holding off.
Someone close to the process told me he believes CCSU will make the FCS playoffs today.
I'm calling BS, but I wanted to mention it's possible. Let's watch ESPNU at 3.

Maybe breaking news

Since I haven't seen this anywhere, I think I'm breaking something for you guys here. I talked to Justin Alexander's high school coach, and he told me that he did in fact sign with Central. I know all the sites I've seen had it as a verbal, but he signed a NLOI.
Can he play? I can't tell you. Could something still happen that sends him somewhere else? Yeah. But he did sign. And he's quite tall.

RR15. It's certainly a valid argument you make. I just would rather have my best player's foul trouble in the first half so I can have him for more of the second half. The way it worked out, CCSU was down big without him, but he had the whole second half to try and catch up. I'd rather that then have him pick up, say a 4th one with 12 minutes left and miss the next 8.

Breaking news

At the women's game, will have full coverage in the paper in the morning, but wanted to pass along a nugget.
I just spoke with Dave Simmons, who told me he expects to play in the next game. He looks a lot better, too.

Catching up

So I've been working so much that I haven't had time to update the old blog.
So let's run through the week since the last time I did this, then give some thoughts on the topics of the day.
As always, please give me your thoughts at

Friday: A gutty effort by the Devils, hindered by two absences. Sitting a few feet away, I watched Shemik gut out that game and am absolutely convinced that Central would have won had it not been for the 7 minutes he sat in the first half. They were down 2 when he left and played the second half I think down 1 with him the whole half. If he plays, they're at the very least in the game late, giving the shooters a realistic shot. You never know. But I think they win.
To the argument that you have to play Shemik with 2 fouls: no way. You'd rather lose him in the first half than the second. Maybe you try and steal the last minute of the half with him in, but he has to sit most of the time there. Dave coming back will be nice, too.

Saturday: What to say about the biggest comeback (in terms of importance) in school history? Great job by the defense in the fourth quarter, and a gutty effort by the offense. Again, the running game wears down the D and sets up a big play downfield. Great job by Aubrey and Josue to rescue the play, too. The key now will be Central's ability to keep focused heading into Saturday. Playing a bad team with so much on the line lends itself to a letdown the week after a big one. I think Central's seniors hold the fort and book a trip to the midwest.

Monday: The women are going to be good. Struggling to finish against two teams from allegedly better leagues isn't that bad a thing, especially since Central had both games in its sights. All that's left to do is iron out the slow starts. When Central fights for loose balls and boards and gets a spark from the likes of Dowdy, it will be fine.
The men need experience and Simmons. A win in the meantime to get their spirits up would be nice, too. There will be nights like this for a team that relies so heavily on outside shooting. No shots, no win.

Btw, I don't remember if I mentioned this during my trips to hoops practice, but if not I feel bad since I killed Central for it last year. GREAT job fixing the devil at midcourt and having it face the hard camera. It will look a million times better on tv now. I also like that the women's banner is blue. Nice way to make it different.

As for the recruiting: Getting three starters from a class is a good thing. Yes the rest of that class is gone, but sometimes that's a mutual thing. Sometimes schools like when guys they don't want leave so they can replace them with someone else.
Baskerville has played 2 games. Let's not close the book on him either way for at least another year. Talk to me at the end of next season.
This year's group: I like Deans, Vince can shoot from anywhere, and Howie LOVES Efese. I have to find an excuse to get the quotes I have from him about Joe E. into a story. He's VERY high on him. We shall see.
Lots of good rumors about next year, I'll see what I can find out.

Told you so

After FU threatened to pull away, Central has come to life in the last few minutes behind Shemik with a big assist to Markeys Deans. Down 8 with 11:57 left.

1st half thoughts

Well things were going just fine until shemik went out with his 2nd foul. After that FU went on a 14-4 run to close the half.
THeir size hurts the Devils, but FU isn't really pulling away with that advantage What happened was that CCSU scored 4 points without Shemik in nearly 7 minutes. I think if he (and everyone else) stays out of trouble, CCSU makes this a game again.

Starters set

Shemik, Rosario and Robby in back of Chris and Markeys (playing for Dave, who is sick).

Attendance report

Not a big crowd here in Bridgeport, but bigger than a Detrick house would be.
This place is stunning by the way. Beautiful, beautiful building.
Ok, on to important stuff. Shemik is in uniform and is warming up as I type. He's a go. Dave however, is not here. I have heard is he now sick, but I have not confirmed that myself. Definitely not here though. Everyone else seems to be here as I do the checcklist in my head.
I'll check in throughout the night as I can, but I'll have to write during the game as it's very close to deadline.
8 pm go time.

I can clear things up

If needed, the NEC has been kind enough to send me the tiebreakers for all the three (and in one case four) way ties in the football standings.
I won't list them all here now as they're hard as heck and a million things can still happen, but let's just say this: If I'm reading this all right, Central doesn't win many of them. There's one very unlikely one Central can win, but let's not go there yet.

Also, I will blog from Harbor Yard tonight, check this early, I should know about Shemik long before game time.

Senior day quotes

I didn't have room in my football preview since there's so many of them, but I wanted Mac's thoughts about the seniors to be on the record somewhere. So I'll print them here.

“James, Aubrey and Anthony have all been here five years,” McInerney said. “Aubrey’s been great here and the year he got hurt, we might have run the table that year. James Mallory is special. He’s got a chance to be the school’s all-time eading rusher and what’s he’s done academically is tremendous. And Anthony is going to graduate and has done well.”
“Marcus Dorsey has been wonderful. Nick was at my first press conference, he's a local kid who's done great and Hunter Wanket did just a fabulous, fabulous job. What he’s done since he’s been out has been special.”
“Tyler Rossnagle and Greg Grochowski have been great, and willing to do whatever we ask. Ray Saunders, Danny and Robert Rodriguez are terrific and good in school and Matt Tartaglione has been wonderful in school and in the games.”

Mail time!

First off, HUGE thanks to Brad Carroll, Ryan Pipke and Andrew Lovell for all their help with the special section. Brad made it look great, and Ryan and Andrew both wrote things to take some of the weight off my shoulders.
Hope you'll all pick it up and bring it with you to the game Friday, or read it before listening to Bruce and Marc. Not sure if all of it can even be webbed, so give it a read please! You'll enjoy it and we worked hard on it.

Thought, in the spirit of the start of the year, I'd tackle some questions I've seen around the web.

Is Shemik Thompson still the primary PG this year?
Yes, if he doesn't play Friday's it's because he's been sick all week. I didn't mention it in the preview because I was writing about the long term. I know he was out of practice this week, so Paul's report today is accurate. Though knowing Shemik, if he can walk he'll play.

If so, if Bailey plays well while Thompson is ill will it allow Howie to move Thompson over to SG?
Maybe in some cases, but not often. You're more likely to see Shemik and Joe or Vince. You want Shemik to be in charge, and you'd like to avoid a freshman PG. Not saying Devan won't be good, but PGs are like QBs. The older the better.

Where will Ptacek play and what happened to Tull?
Ptacek will mostly be a wing/forward/3rd guard, so he's not really bothered by who the second guard is. I don't think you'll see much of Tull early. But I think he can absolutely be a player down the line. Bailey will play early, as will Deans.

Where will Rosario play?
Remember Microwave Johnson? Vince will be shooting. A lot. Howie told me specifically that he doesn't want Vince driving the ball much, so you won't see him running the point much. Plus I saw him make a shot in practice from the sideline before he started regularly draining NBA threes.

A depressing weekend

Wanted to catch up with some thoughts on the weekend before I go back to working on hoops previews. (Not sure exactly the schedule for the week, but I can promise you lots coming.)
As for football... what a gut-wrenching setback. Hard to place too much blame on the offense, it scored 27. I will say that I didn't understand those early decisions by Mac in the first half that led to TOs... but in the end it came down to "live by the sword, die by the sword."
I don't think it's fair to rip Central for winning a host of close games this year. Did their running, conservative style allow for some close game? Yes. Did it help them win a bunch of games late? Absolutely.
Think of it like a boxer: fans like Mike Tyson, who knocked people out but couldn't last in a long fight. Lennox Lewis, who jabbed his way through 12 boring rounds, won almost all his fights. He just ran into a right hand against Rahman.
That's what happened to the Devils. The opposition threw one final, desperate haymaker and connected.
If Central makes that one last stand, we're talking about a gutty effort to win a road game despite a rash of illnesses. Instead, we're lamenting possible end of what was once a run to a title.
I do think Albany will show up against Wagner, as it can cause a three-team craziness situation (if they got help with a CCSU loss to Monmouth) that I have to investigate further.
The point is, I think both sides of the argument are extreme. This was a bitter loss and everyone should be disappointed since the title was there for the taking (the FCS playoffs are no longer an option either), but I don't think it means that the seven wins are meaningless. They can still get to 9 for I believe the 2nd time in school history. That IS a big deal.
Speaking of bad beats, I'm SICK for the soccer girls. They beat literally every team in the NEC, avenged their one tie with a win in the rematch, and the one loss Sunday ends their run?
Conference tournaments make money, but they are patently unfair.
Unless the Central men use them to make the Sweet 16 in men's soccer. Then I think they're great.
Kidding, of course. Anyway, I truly hope Leah Blayney and company can appreciate what they accomplished. A wonderful year by a great group. And a FANTASTIC job by the football team and all the other students who packed the soccer field for Sunday's game. Wonderful show of support. Really classy move by some of the other teams on campus.
I'll have a men's soccer follow, speaking of great kids, as well this week.


yes, I realize I named the wrong old QB for Wagner in my story today. The point is the same and the quotes are accurate, I just named the wrong QB. What other team in the world has a 22 year old newcomer AND a 24-year old backup?

That tease

This was one I had to hold onto until Saturday in part because I wanted to see how big it would become, but now it seems less severe. Early in the week there was quite the flu bug going through the football team (not to mention a couple of other teams and now your favorite beat writer just sneezed as he wrote this), but by Friday afternoon I can report that many of the players were back at practice. I was told that Thursday night and saw it for myself Friday. I wouldn't be stunned if a player or two doesn't go Saturday because of it, but the worst seems to have passed. There was one star player I was particularly worried about, but since he practiced Friday I won't embarrass him by saying he was sick.
Preview is in the paper and online, but i forgot to make a pick:
Assuming Central is healthy, they pull it together and win another close one. I think Jason Page is going and Central always plays well when he's around, so I'll say 27-21 in another late rally. If they're sick, all bets are off. But I'll give you a bonus, long-term pick: If Central wins this one, Monmouth is going down in two weeks. Coming home with one big one to go? The Devils won't miss that chance. But first things first.
That all said, I have tons of writing for the paper to do this week, so forgive me if the blogging is scarce this week. Check the paper or to make sure you see it all.

Just checking in

so you guys wouldn't think I forgot you. Obviously I'm writing like crazy for the paper this week with everything going on. Hope you're reading it all in the Herald or at
Yes, shameless plug. I have to buy my Cherry Pepsi somehow.
Wanted to clear up one misconception I've seen out there: CCSU didn't hide Ken's injury last year. Not from me, and not from you guys. They couldn't have because they didn't know about it.
Kenny didn't tell the coaching staff what he was playing through until AFTER the year. He was toughing it out. Which is admirable, even if not always the best thing to do. He told Howie after the year was over. The only thing I haven't asked, because quite frankly I didn't think of it at the time, is why it took so long from the time he told coach until when he's getting surgery. I know the CCSU medical staff and they're VERY good, so I'm sure it's a totally reasonable answer. My guess is they wanted to see if he could play through it.
Schedule for the week: I wrote a quick thing on football for Thursday's paper, soccer stuff will be in Friday's paper and a full football preview Saturday morning. It's possible there will be breaking news late week/weekend. Will let you know if there is. Not tyring to be a tease, as it's quite possible nothing comes of it, but just wanted to remind you to check here once in a while this week. And don't fret, it's nothing earth-shattering like Kenny.
Btw, I saw others have started calling his absence and the missing minutes and points the "Kenny void." I wish I could start a more pleasant trend. But maybe we can get Bruce to use it on opening night?
Also, start working on names now for next year, when a healthy, angry Kenny comes back and starts dunking on people. I vote for the "Ken Horton Revenge Tour." Simple and unoriginal, yet effective. Like most of my stuff.
Also, Lynn, if you read this, I wrote you back. Reply so I can fulfill that article request.

The replacements

Guys, I wouldn't freak out if Tull or any of the other freshmen aren't superstars on Day 1. Just because there's a need now doesn't mean we can expect the world from them right away. I've never said Tull won't contribute. Just saying it won't be fair to ask him to be Ken on Nov. 13.

Kenny update

For those who didn't see my blog Monday night (I know there wasn't much there but I wanted to get something up quick since it was big news) or Marc's report on TV on the 11 pm news, here's the full breakdown on Kenny's injury.

Apparently it goes back much further than I thought. I'd like to apologize publicly for my comments about his lack of aggression down the stretch last year. Apparently he was playing on one leg. He didn't tell me either.

As for the questions of what happens now: I can tell you 2 things from my day-long trip to Detrick on Monday (thanks to both teams for letting me spy to see what kind of plays they're running and talk to the kids). First, there's one lineup where Robby is the 4. We'll call that the "small," lineup.
2nd, you're going to see a lot more pressing and trapping on D. The idea, I think (though perhaps this was going to happen even with Kenny) is since it will be harder to score on offense, to try and make some of those points up on defense.

A couple other notes, which I'll write more about as we get closer. (And I can already hear your keyboards going... don't panic, I haven't forgotten about football. But Kenny quite frankly is the big news of the day.) First, Chris Baskerville is in phenomenal shape. Can he translate that to production? We'll have to wait and see. But if he can run and be a strong presence inside, it will help the "Kenny void," as we'll name it.

Markeys greatly intrigues me because he's bulky and has some touch on his shot. He'll need time to figure everything out though. Vince is playing much better defense than what he did last year in practice, and can shoot the ball from across the street. Joe Efese strikes me as someone who can help defensively right away, though his offense has a ways to go. If those four players all contribute in the ways I mentioned, it could cover the Kenny void.
But that shows you just how special Kenny is when healthy. It will take a village to replace him. Replacing him defensively will be the hard part.

What does this mean for the year? Honestly, I'm not ready to say. The good news is this happened now, and they have the whole year to put a plan together. It's not like losing him heading into March. I don't think they finish worse than last year because others have improved and there are more weapons with the newcomers. Coach likes these challenges, too. Now the Devils have to grind. I promise he'll get every ounce of energy out of this group. But let's just say I'm backing off the pick I was going to make for how they will do this year.
I'll have to change my player of the year pick, too.

Unrelated note: I don't remember if I posted this stuff or not, it's been a crazy week. First, soccer scheduling changes. The women will play their semifinal at 11 am on the soccer field. The 2nd semi is right after, and there. The men will play their senior day game in the evening, I believe at 6, on the football field. Also, big congrats to the XC men for their NEC title.

More to come in the paper on hoops. I wrote a follow to the Albany FB game, don't know if it ran tonight, I wasn't in the office. I'll have a football game preview in Saturday's paper, but not sure about midweek stuff because of this development and soccer previews. Of course, if something huge happens like a Hunter level injury, we'll have it.

My busiest two weeks of the year just got crazier, Bear with me. Please keep questions coming to , just don't kill me if it takes awhile to respond this week.

Big, bad news

Obvioiusly, MUCH more to come on this in the next 2 days, but I do have to share with you a sad and surprising (at least to me) turn of events.
Ken Horton, with that bad hip, is now going to miss the entire season. He will redshirt and be eligible for a 5th year in 2011-2012 (someone check my math there on the year, I'm rushing.)
But here's the good news: He is expected to make a FULL recovery and be back 100 percent next year.