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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Blue holds off White in annual spring game

By Tim Olsen

April 21, 2009 | For those wishing to see the new Aggie offense in action and get a glimpse of what USU has in store for its opponents next season, Saturday's Blue and White scrimmage was the perfect venue.

Junior quarterback Diondre Borel threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns as he led the Blue team to 533 yards of total offense and the win, as they defeated the White team, 45-30, Saturday.

Roughly 5,000 fans filled the stands at Romney Stadium to enjoy the sun and the Aggies, and they were treated well by both. Borel was 12-23 on the afternoon and threw no interceptions as big play after big play electrified the crowd.

"Both sides did well, all the quarterbacks did pretty well and I thought I did pretty well," Borel said. "Everybody is making big plays and stepping up both offensively and defensively."

The White team struck first when redshirt freshman QB Exavier Johnson a player shooting the depth chart this spring found senior wide receiver Xavier Bowman for a well executed 71-yard touchdown on third down.

"We made a lot of big plays. That is good on one side, but bad on the other side of the football," said USU head coach Gary Andersen. "Offensively we executed and made some big plays. That is a very big positive for us. The biggest concern coming out of this is the first team defense gave up way too many points."

The Blue team kept the big plays going when wide receiver Stanley Morrison connected with wide receiver Omar Sawyer for a 44-yard gain on a reverse pass on the Blue teams opening play.

Shortly after that running back Robert Turbin found the end zone on a six-yard rumble that knotted things up at seven. Turbin finished with 57 yards on 13 carries and the lone touchdown.

After having two relatively quiet spring scrimmages, Sawyer broke out and had a huge day Saturday. The senior from Ogden made only three receptions but finished with 196 yards and two touchdowns, as he added TD receptions of 72 and 80 yards, respectively.

"This is the last day of spring so I knew I needed to go out there and do something. I made some plays and I was happy with it," Sawyer said. "I have been getting looks, but overall I haven't made the most of my opportunities. Today I felt like I came out and really took advantage of those chances."

After the hot start, it was the defenses that owned the next few possessions as five consecutive stops were made. The stops included four forced punts and an interception by senior cornerback Kejon Murphy.

"I think as a defense we came out too excited," Murphy said. "We just have to calm down and play well like we know how to do. There are a lot of guys on defense that can play, we shouldn't have been so hyped up."

The Blue defense was led by senior safety James Brindley who had nine tackles, while sophomore linebacker Bobby Wagner racked up eight and a half. It was the Blue defense that finally sealed the game as well.

Brindley blasted White running back Marquis Butler, causing him to pop the ball up in the air. Senior linebacker Paul Igboeli grabbed the ball and rumbled into the end zone for the score, and what would prove to be the final points of the game.

On the White side, the defense was led by sophomore safety Walter McClenton who tallied five and half stops on the day. McClenton was followed closely by sophomore linebacker Kyle Gallagher who recorded five stops.

"I think the kids did a great job of consistently practicing. Today was a little bit different for them, it was really good for us to come out and feel the game atmosphere," Andersen said. "We wanted 15 consecutive practices and to come out as a tougher football team. We wanted to be able to execute on offense and defense, and I think we are doing that."

Other players that played well on the day included receivers Bowman who caught five balls for 108 yards, Austin Alder who grabbed six balls for 62 yards and took and end around 49 yards for a touchdown, and Stanley Morrison who snagged three passes for 97 yards and one TD.

On the ground Josh Flores and Butler led the White with 47 and 46 yards, respectively, while Michael Smith chipped in 57 and Dervvin Speight chipped in 53 for the Blue team.

The Blue and White scrimmage concluded USU's spring drills. The Aggies will take roughly a month off before returning to prepare for the regular season.


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