Thursday, October 08, 2009

UFL opener, Las Vegas v. California --TIVO Blog
California coach Dennis Green gives a speech in the first scene of the UFL. His players are ... not really listening. One guy is listening to headphones, another is drinking Gatorade and waundering around.

In the second quarter, after Cory Ross scores a TD to put California up 14-3, Green tells his players to keep "pounding the sh**" out of them. See, this is why players and coaches can't be mic'd. Though I'm not sure Green was... still heard it, though.

UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue joins Dave Sims and Doug Flutie in the booth, and says there are 1,500 people in the stands. I'd wager 1,500, but whatever. Huyghue also says he wants to expand next year. Hey, Cleveland doesn't have a pro team, expand there and play at The Prog. I'm only 10 percent joking. I wish the league well, because I have learned I can NEVER have enough football.

-Even in this league, J.P Losman looks overmatched.

-Ex-Brown alert: California punter Derrick Frost, a Butch Davis find who I think went to Washington after that.

-Versus has done a good job making its coverage professional. Much better production and fewer rough spots than in the XFL debut in 2001.

-Even though it's a new league on a network I never watch, I STILL can't avoid the Progressive commercials with Flo, who reminds me of a broken answering machine -- never informative, always annoying. She is only slightly less problematic than Chad and the Alltel cellphone guys.

-Dede Dorsey catches a TD pass in the closing seconds of the first half for Las Vegas. Wasn't he in a supporting role on Hard Knocks?

We actually go inside the locker room, with the Redwoods offensive coordinator Mike Kruczek actually actually giving away his plan in the second half, which boils down to... throw the ball.

Las Vegas coach Jim Fassel (who'd be coaching the Browns if I were in charge) does the same, telling his guys that the defense hasn't really stopped them.

A lot of this stuff is hardcore football talk, stuff most (including me) will have trouble getting, when they discuss specific plays with code names. But the UFL does appear to be football for football fans, which I'm a huge proponent of.

- Adam Bergen catches a TD pass from Losman to give Las Vegas a 17-14 edge. Losman looked really good on that drive.

-Denzel Washington's son, John David, is in the game for California. He's a running back who played for St. Louis in the NFL. The cynic in me says he's only there so Kordell Stewart can interview Denzel. Hey, big get. As the interview ends, John David goes off the field.

- An old usher asks to see Denzel's ticket. Tickets are $20. I think he can afford it.

-With less than a minute left in the third quarter, it's 20-17, Las Vegas.

- Las Vegas moves to midfield, then there's three consecutive procedure penalties. I don't even think Derek Anderson's offenses have ever done that.

-In the end, Las Vegas wins, 30-17.

Here are some observations:

-It wasn't nearly as sloppy as I expected, and I think that might be because of the quality of the players involved. Many of these guys are former NFLers who are in season shape -- some just got cut a month ago. That's an advantage of running in the fall.

-Sims and Flutie were decent.

- Not a fan of the uniforms, since they all have similar schemes to them. What was worse was that California wore white and the Locos gray, which made it hard to differentiate at times.

- I still wonder if four teams will be enough to hook a fan, since they will essentially see the same teams every week. For people in unused markets, this could be an issue.

-Overall, I enjoyed it. Not sure if it's a good idea to start planning expansion before the league knows if it can sustain itself. The XFL honchos talked expansion too after first week.



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