Voting for Coleman award ending soon

From UCLA:

UCLA running back Derrick Coleman has been named one of five finalists for the 2011 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award. The honor is presented annually to recognize a leader in the world of college football who has realized their potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community. More than 30 million Americans are affected by rare diseases.

The 3rd annual award winner will be determined by an online vote ending Monday, February 28th at noon (EST). The Champion will be announced on Global Rare Disease Day (February 28th) at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. Uplifting Athletes will also honor the winner at a luncheon at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana at a later date. Previous winners include American Football Coaches Association Executive Director, Grant Teaff (2009); and Dickinson College Quarterback, Ian Mitchell (2010).

Coleman’s mom was concerned when his speech wasn’t progressing as a small child. It was determined that Derrick was almost completely deaf. A missing gene was to blame and as a result, Derrick was fitted for hearing aids. His lack of hearing hasn’t hindered Coleman in the least little bit. He was UCLA’s second leading rusher this past season. Coleman knows he can be a role model and ever since his sophomore year of high school, he’s spoken to groups about the challenges he’s faced. “My message is `there’s no excuse as to why they can’t succeed,’” Coleman says. “If I can do it, they too can do it.”

The other 2011 finalists: North Carolina State offensive coordinator Dana Bible; Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill; Princeton running back Jordan Culbreath; and Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien. To read each finalist’s personal story and connection to the rare disease community as well as to cast your vote for this year’s Champion, log

About Uplifting Athletes: Uplifting Athletes is a full service national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising them as a national priority through research, outreach, education and advocacy. What makes Uplifting Athletes unique is that our university chapters are run by current football student-athletes, providing them with an opportunity to gain management and leadership skills while learning how to leverage their assets and abilities to make a positive and lasting impact. Each chapter adopts one out of approximately 7,000 rare diseases (such as ALS, Aplastic Anemia, CMT, cystic fibrosis, Ehlers-Danlos, Ewing’s Sarcoma, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, MS, Neimann Pick Type-C, Neuroblastoma, pancreatic cancer, etc.).

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Tidbits from Howland press conference

* UCLA head coach Ben Howland said during Tuesday’s press conference that the Bruins would not go back into the zone, and that his decision to switch was dictated by foul trouble.
“They scored well against the zone, too,” Howland said. “They made a couple really tough shots. Harper Kamp’s jump hook, even though it’s one of his best shots, that was tough. You have to give them credit, they did a good job.”
Howland is still nervous to allow wide-open shots, which occurred a few times against the Bears in the team’s loss on Sunday.
“Crabbe had a wide-open three against our zone, and he just missed it,” Howland said. “The one thing I hate about zone, eventually if they’re patient, they’re going to get a good shot. We were fortunate there.”
What if the team is in foul trouble again?
“No. No, we’re not going to be playing zone,” Howland said. “The reason I went to it was the foul trouble to Reeves and Josh. Josh played with four fouls for a while, and three fouls for a while.”

* Given UCLA’s rather lackadaisical effort against Cal, Howland was asked if anyone was sick prior to the game.
“No, we were sick after the game,” Howland joked.
I was particularly curious about Tyler Lamb, who played a season-low three minutes, but Howland said it was just his fault that he didn’t play the freshman guard more.
“I should’ve played him more,” Howland said. “I talked to him about that. He gives us good defensive presence. That was my fault.”

*Howland on Brendan Lane:
“I thought he did a good job in the Cal game. I was glad to see him score a couple baskets, along with that three. He had a couple baskets around the basket which were good.”

“Howland on Arizona State being a trap game on Thursday:
“I don’t think so. This is a huge game for us. They’re coming off a win – and they’ve been close – they had Cal down seven with the ball with 6:20 to go. We know what it’s like to play Cal at Cal. We’re going to have to play really well Thursday to win.”

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UCLA zones….in?

You should have seen the looks on my colleagues’ faces with around 15 minutes to play last night in UCLA’s overtime loss to Cal.

There were looks of pure amazement, a little confusion, even a little smugness.

Finally, surprisingly, shockingly, UCLA switched into a zone defense. It’s been a long time coming.

Despite constant questioning from the media about even testing a zone defense, UCLA head coach Ben Howland had been so steadfast in his opinion that, quite frankly, I never expected it.

Coach, will you use the zone?

Would you consider it?

Why not?
“We play man-to-man.”

Do you ever practice it?
“Only when the other team uses it.”

So when it happened, suffice to say, we were all blown away. So too, it appears, were the players.

“It caught me by surprise, to tell you the truth,” Joshua Smith said. “I remember going in the huddle and he said we were going to run zone and I was kind of like “Oh, OK.”

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Game time set for Washington swing

Game times have been set for UCLA’s men’s basketball trip to Washington on the final week of the Pac-10 regular season.

The game at Washington on March 3 will tip at 6:00 pm and will be televised live by ESPN or ESPN2.

The regular-season finale at Washington State on March 5 will tip at 2:30 pm and will be televised live by Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket in Los Angeles).

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Weekly Q&A

Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.


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UCLA falls to Cal in overtime heartbreaker, 76-72


UCLA head coach Ben Howland waved his head in disgust and then smacked his right hand directly on his forehead, his shoulders collapsing.

The Bruins chased Cal around the court all night, particularly spectacular guard Jorge Gutierrez, and couldn’t catch the Bears.

Right when they needed to catch up the most – simply fouling a Bear, any Bear, as the dwindling seconds dripped off the clock in overtime – they couldn’t. With a two-point lead, Cal dribbled out the clock after a Jerime Anderson layup, UCLA was not able to foul until just .7 seconds remained, and Gutierrez knocked down two free throws to give the Bears the 76-72 win at Haas Pavilion.
Howland was shaken to the core, simply heartbroken.

For all of UCLA’s guts and heart down the stretch in Sunday’s matchup at Cal to end like…this?

The Bruins were quiet and morbid after coming all the way back from a 13-point deficit but ultimately losing for the first time in seven games.

“We felt like it was meant to be for us to win that game,” UCLA sophomore small forward Tyler Honeycutt said. “For us to lose like that probably hurts more.”

Perhaps it’s not a surprise Gutierrez outran the Bruins; he left them in his dust all night.

The Chihuahua, Mexico, product played like a Great Dane, scurrying all over the court for the Bears, weaving his way into traffic, darting into the post, leading all scorers with 34 points – the most UCLA has allowed all season – including nine points in overtime.

“Their coach found something that was working for them and they exploited it all night,” said UCLA junior guard Malcolm Lee, who led the team with 19 points. “They were running him off of picks, high pick and rolls, doubles. Nothing broke, why fix it? … We just have to get back in the lab and basically fix this problem.”
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UCLA trails 29-18 at half

Cal fed off the energy of the Haas Pavilion crowd and simply blitzed the Bruins throughout the first half, taking a 29-18 lead into the locker room.

UCLA is shooting 7-of-24 from the field and 1-of-12 from 3-point range, with 10 turnovers, limping to its worst first half of the season (the Bruins scored 17 in the second half against Pacific). With just over seven minutes left in the half, no UCLA player had more than two points.

Worse, the Bears are out-hustling the Bruins, racing to almost every loose ball, every 50-50 opportunity, every offensive rebounds. Cal has owned the glass with a 22-13 advantage, including eight offensive boards.

And it’s not as if the Bears shot the lights out, either: Cal is only at 40 percent and has seven turnovers, too.

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