NFL Mock Draft – Vo2

25 03 2012

#1  Indianapolis Colts – QB – Andrew Luck

#2 Washington Redskins – QB – Robert Griffin III

#3 Minnesota Vikings – OT –  Matt Kalil

#4 Cleaveland Browns – RB –  Trent Richardson

#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB – Morris Claiborne

#6 St Louis Rams – WR – Justin Blackmon

#7 Jacksonville Jaguars – DE – Melvin Ingram

#8 Miami Dolphins – QB – Ryan Tannehill

#9 Carolina Panthers – DT – Dontari Poe

#10 Buffalo Bills – DE – Quinton Coples

#11 Kansas City Chiefs – ILB – Luke Kuechly

#12 Seattle Seahawks – OT – Riley Reiff

#13 Arizona Cardinals – G – David DeCastro

#14 Dallas Cowboys – CB –  Dre Kirkpatrick

#15 Philladelphia Eagles – DT – Fletcher Cox

#16 New York Jets  – DE – Whitney Mercilus

#17 Cincinatti Bengals – CB – Janoris Jenkins

#18 San Diego Chargers – WR – Michael Floyd

#19 Chicago Bears – DE – Nick Perry

#20 Tennessee Titans – DT – Michael Brockers

#21 Cincinatti Bengals – RB – Lamar Miller

#22 Cleaveland Browns – OT – Jonathan Martin

#23 Detroit Lions – CB – Stephon Gilmore

#24 Pittsburgh Steelers – T – Cordy Glenn

#25 Denver Broncos – WR – Kendall Wright

#26 Houston Texans – LB – Courtney Upshaw

#27 New England Patriots – DT – Devon Still

#28 Green Bay Packers – DE – Andre Branch

#29 Baltimore Ravens – ILB – Dont’a Hightower

#30 San Francisco 49ers – WR – Stephen Hill

#31 New England Patriots – RB – David Wilson

#32 New York Giants – TE – Coby Fleener

 





Play-Off Semi Finals

25 03 2012

Championship

Southampton Stags @ Birmingham Lions

Loughborugh Aces @ Hertfordshire Hurricanes

Plate

NTU Renegades @ Bath Killer Bees

UEA Pirates @ Sheffield Sabres





BUAFL Playoffs: Quarter Finals

17 03 2012

Week two of the playoffs is upon us and as always, it has thrown up some mouthwatering clashes.

In the Northern Section of the Championship Playoffs, the Loughborough Aces, are once again on the road, this time travelling north to the #1 ranked Newcastle Raiders. The Sheffield Hallam Warriors face a mammoth task as they travel to the home of the Birmingham Lions for a place in the semi-finals.

 

#5 Loughborough Aces @ Newcastle Raiders #1

#3 Hallam Warriors @ Birmingham Lions #2

 

In the Southern Section of the Championship Playoffs, the Cardiff Cobras will be hoping luck is on their side as they travel to the number one ranked Hertfordshire Hurricanes. The final quarter final sees the Southampton Stags hosting the UWE Bullets.

 

#5 Cardiff Cobras @ Hertfordshire Hurricanes #1

#3 UWE Bullets @ Southampton Stags #2

 

In the Northern Section of the Plate Competition, the Edinburgh Predators travel south to play the Sheffield Sabres. The number one ranked team in the north, Northumbria Mustangs, welcome the NTU Renegades.

 

#5 Edinburgh Predators @ Sheffield Sabres #2

#6 NTU Renegades @ Northumbria Mustangs #1

 

In the Southern Section of the Plate Competition, the Bath Killer Bees, fresh from their victory over the Portsmouth Destroyers, travel south to the #1 ranked Plymouth Bitz. In the other game, UEA Pirates will take on the Solent Redhawks.

 

#5 Bath Killer Bees @ Plymouth Blitz #1

#3 UEA Pirates @ Solent Redhawks #2





NFL Mock Draft 2012: Round 1

15 03 2012

This is my very first attempt at an NFL Mock Draft. It is probably all wrong but you never know…

#1 Indianapolis Colts

The Colts hold the number one pick and use it to strengthen their secondary picking up Morris Cla … Peyton left? He hurt his neck? What about Curtis? Oh, well in that case they need a franchise quarterback and I know just the guy.

ANDREW LUCK [QB – Stanford]

#2 Washington Redskins

The Redskins have traded with the Rams and acquired the second overall pick for a hefty price, meaning they are after the second best player in the draft who also happens to be a quarterback.

ROBERT GRIFFIN III [QB – Baylor]

#3 Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have a future Hall of Fame running back in my opinion but need someone who can open up the holes for him to run through. They also have a young quarterback who requires protection. This is a job for the best offensive lineman in the draft.

MATT KALIL [OT – USC]

#4 Cleaveland Browns

The Browns have missed out on RG3 so they need to give current quarterback Colt McCoy some weapons, Hillis could stay meaning Trent Richardson isn’t needed, I think they go deep.

JUSTIN BLACKMON [WR – Oklahoma St]

#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa have been busy in Free Agency so far collecting Nicks [G], Wright [CB] and Jackson [WR], all to big money contracts. With needs all over the field after a dismall 2011, the Bucs would be better off selecting the best player remaining and going from there.

MORRIS CLAIBORNE [CB – LSU]

#6 St Louis Rams

The Rams drop back to the number six spot as a result of the Redskins trade and would have been praying that Blackmon was still left on the board, he isn’t so they go with a combine star.

DONTARI POE [DT – Memphis]

#7 Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags signed what they thought was their franchise quarterback in Blaine Gabbert last year but he was thrown around like a ragdoll too many times, they could try and protect him with Reiff but I say they reach for a quarterback, again.

RYAN TENNEHILL [QB – Texas A&M]

#8 Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins need a franchise quarterback but they’ll get that sorted in free agency with either Matt Flynn or number 18 filling the void. What they do need is a pass rusher and this guy will give them that.

MELVIN INGRAM [DE – S. Carolina]

#9 Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are sorted on offense for the most part but the defence needs some looking at, they’ll address that in this draft.

DEVON STILL [DT – Penn State]

#10 Buffalo Bills

The Bills fell away last year largely down to the fact they conceded too many points. Marcel Dareus improved the defence but they need someone alongside him to make a big difference.

QUINTON COPLES [DE – N. Carolina]

#11 Kansas City Chiefs

The unfashionable Chiefs, suffered with injuries last season to key players early on. They could do with some help up front..

RILEY REIFF [OT – Iowa]

#12 Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are an up and coming team who could gatecrash the playoffs if they recruit well. They don’t have the best set of linebackers so I think they’ll strengthen there.

LUKE KUECHLY [LB – Boston College]

#13 Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals could do with improving everywhere but I don’t know where they will improve so I’m going for a pick that I’d like to see them make.

LAMICHAEL JAMES [RB – Oregon]

#14 Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have the talent but fail to produce year in year out. They have released veteran cornerback Terrance Newman and will most likely replace him with someone fresh.

DRE KIRKPATRICK [CB – Alabama]

#15 Philladelphia Eagles

The ‘Dream Team’ failed to live up to their pre-season billing last year but finished on a high. They could use a bit of help on the inside so I see them going for ..

MICHAEL BROCKERS [DT – LSU]

#16 New York Jets

Mark Sanchez is under immense pressure in the goldfish bowl that is New York City (or New Jersey if you want to be specific) and with no running game as such to aid his survival, he’s fighting a losing battle. LaDainian Tomlinson could be departing, so I am going for a big one here.

TRENT RICHARDSON [RB – Alabama]

#17 Cincinatti Benglas

The Bengals first pick of this round will allow them to strengthen their secondary with the acquisition of …

JANORIS JENKINS [CB – N. Alabama]

#18 San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have underachieved for a long time and they’ll be no closer to a Superbowl with the loss of receiver Vincent Jackson, so they must replace him to stay in the playoff hunt.

MICHAEL FLOYD [WR – Notre Dame]

#19 Chicago Bears

The Bears did need a receiver before they added Brandon Marshall in a trade with the Dolphins, so now their attention switches to the offensive line.

DAVID DECASTRO [G – Stanford]

#20 Tennessee Titans

Tennessee have lost Cortland Finnegan to the Rams through free agency, so a replacement is paramount. Yet a defensive lineman is even more crucial at the moment so they go with …

FLETCHER COX [DT – Mississippi St]

#21 Cincinatti Bengals

Pick number two for the Bengals will please the fans as the out-going Cedric Benson will be replaced by …

LAMAR MILLER [RB – Miami]

#22 Cleaveland Browns

The Browns also throw their second dart at the board and this time they will try to improve their linebackers with the signing of …

ZACH BROWN [OLB – N.Carolina]

#23 Detroit Lions

The Lions have signed ‘Megatron’ to a giant 7-year-deal but have been left short at cornerback after Eric Wright signed for the Buccaneers.

STEPHON GILMORE [CB – S. Carolina]

#24 Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are aging and could do with an upgrade in the trenches.

CORDY GLENN [T – Georgia]

#25 Denver Broncos

The Broncos are after Peyton Manning and should they get him, it will change the entire philosophy of the Broncos draft. For now I’m going to call it as if they still have the enigma that is Tim Tebow under centre. They need another option on offence.

COBY FLEENER [TE – Stanford]

#26 Houston Texans

The Texans loook like they’ve lost their star man, Mario Williams to free agency so a cheaper replacement is in order but that will have to wait as centre Chris Myers looks to be on his way out of Texas also.

PETER KONZ [C – Wisconsin]

#27 New England Patriots

The Patriots made the Superbowl last season, again, but they allowed teams to put too many yards on them. With Anderson’s return in doubt, a pass rusher is required.

WHITNEY MERCILUS [DE – Illinois]

#28 Green Bay Packers

The Packers defence lost its ‘umph’ last year as Clay Matthews was a marked man, so the need for a pass rusher to occupy the minds of the offence is much needed.

NICK PERRY [DE – USC]

#29 Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis isn’t getting any younger and sooner or later the Ravens are going to need to address this situation, although they will be lucky if this guy is still on the board.

COURTNEY UPSHAW [OLB – Alabama]

#30 San Francisco 49ers

The 49er’s have lossed Ginn and Morgan, two legitimate receivers who can change games. They will need replacing.

KENDALL WRIGHT [WR – Baylor]

#31 New England Patriots

The Pats will select a tight end with their second pick lol, jk they need to strengthen the defence some more and will do this with the selection of …

DONT’A HIGHTOWER [ILB – Alabama]

#32 New York Giants

The final pick of the first round lies with the defending Superbowl champions who because of injury are short at the tight end position. I reckon they’ll address this.

DWAYNE ALLEN [TE – Clemson]





Playoffs – Round 1 Results

13 03 2012

The first weekend of the BUAFL playoffs is complete, here are the results:

Championship UH Sharks 6 @ 46 Hallam Warriors

Championship Loughborough Aces 42 @ 6 Stirling Clansmen

Championship Essex Blades 6 @ 31 UWE Bullets

Championship Cardiff Cobras 16 @ 7 OBU Panthers

 

Challenge Trophy NTU Renegades 34 @ 0 Northampton Nemesis

Challenge Trophy Edinburgh Predators 30 @ 22 Leeds Celtics

Challenge Trophy Kent Falcons 13 @ 28 UEA Pirates

Challenge Trophy Bath Killer Bees 27 @ 6 Portsmouth Destroyers





Russell Hewitt Interview

12 03 2012

The tingling sensation upon the final whistle, a distant memory. The deafness, from victory songs on the coach journey home, erased. The excessive flash from a proud father’s camera, gone.

It was the Plate competition for the Destroyers this year, something that didn’t sit well with Head Coach Russell Hewitt.

“For us, we haven’t been executing in a way we have become accustomed to. You sit and watch the film, see you out gained your opponent, held the ball for longer and even had more plays, but the only stat that counts at the end, is the final score”.

Portsmouth Destroyers 2010/11 National Championship trophy presentation.

Almost twelve months ago, coach Hewitt and his Portsmouth Destroyers were walking up the steps to collect their BUAFL Championship trophy. They had just completed a momentous victory over the resounding favourites, Birmingham Lions.

They should have built on this foundation, but ultimately the pressure of holding on to their crown for a second successive season proved too much.

FightForTheYard delves a little deeper into the current problems facing the Destroyers and gets to grips with the man at the helm of this faltering programme.

Russell first came into contact with American football when he was just 14-years-old;

“I was a young lad and a local team called Solent Blitz started training on the school field, I’ve been hooked for 25 years.”

Beginning as a defensive back, Russell played the sport from 1994 – 2003.

“I’ve played for too many years, I started out as a defensive back before moving to linebacker and defensive end, as I got older and slower.

Over the years I have also played quarterback, tight end, running back and receiver, in fact the only place I haven’t played is offensive line!”

Something which attracted Russell to the sport is the notion that whichever body type you are, you can compete for a place on the roster.

“I love the competition that football throws up and that anybody can play it. Then you add the life lessons it teaches you, the sport cannot be beat.

Knowing his playing career was coming to an end, Russell jumped at the chance to get involved in the coaching side of the game.

Hewitt coaching the Southern Sundevils

“Graham Thorpe got me started coaching Youth and University football, whilst I was still playing. He got me helping out with the Sundevils Youth team, and a GB Lions Youth camps. I was then the defensive backs coach for the Southampton Stags in 2002-03.

Jim Robertson appointed me as a defensive coordinator in 2003 when I retired from playing. I really have to thank them both, as they ignited a passion for coaching, something I didn’t think I had. Getting into coaching has been a great thing for me, to pass on knowledge and see an individual improve is extremely rewarding but it can also be testing and very hard work”.

In 2004 the University of Portsmouth was looking for a head coach to start a football programme, something Russell was hesitant about doing.

“I was invited to be the head coach and start a team with about twelve students. To be honest I had no idea what to do and neither did they but we started recruiting and then learnt how to recruit properly…”.

After taking charge of the team, Hewitt and his coaching staff set about establishing some targets, some of which were extremely brave and in hindsight maybe too brash.

“We travelled to Oxford Brooks for our associate team with only 17 players and two coaches, we lost 14-2 but it was a great experience.

Since then it’s been about improving and every single year, we took steps. We originally set a three-year plan to get to playoffs, but we fell just short of that so I sat down with some of our coaches and captains to make sure that would never happen again”.

Luckily for coach Hewitt the talk did the trick and they began the hard work of challenging the best programmes in the country; “Everyone bought in, we took on the University colours, rebranded and the new Destroyers were born”.

Russell Hewitt and Portsmouth Destroyers

Winning the Championship last season would be enough for some people but their will be no complacency on the part of coach Hewitt.

“Have we achieved what I want? No. It was amazing to lift the Neil Reynolds Trophy last season but the work is in the grind to get better. What makes the BUAFL so great is the time you get with players, generally players only get 24 games, just three short seasons, to reach their football potential, so you have to get the best out of them for your programme”.

Russell points to the achievements of John Wooden (UCLA Basketball coach) and Bob Ladouceur (De La Salle High School) who won 10 National Championships in 11 seasons and a twelve-year winning streak respectively as an example of pushing the boundaries of perfection.

“I really don’t believe you can ever be satisfied with where you are or you drop back down and nobody can be perfect all the time, but when a coaching legend like John Wooden or Bob Ladouceur can do what they’ve done, you know you must work harder”.

The current season has not been plain sailing for the Destroyers especially after the heroics by last year’s team.

“This season has been a new challenge and thus been another learning curve. Last year was great and something I will look back on in future years, my first National Championship as a Head Coach, but that ended as soon as we lifted the trophy.

The confidence that win gave us was amazing and we took that into this season. Ultimately it has brought out the best in our opponents, and they’re all looking for a shot at the National Champions”.

Russell is pleased with the development of some of his players but is disappointed with recent performances.

“We have built on last years team, adding a huge rookie class and in some cases these rookies have beaten out veteran players which is excellent to see because this really allows us to plan for next year and beyond. Yet we have to be honest with ourselves, we didn’t return out of the Christmas break as we should have and that cost us our 15 game win streak”.

Unfortunately the Destroyers succumbed to the Bath Killer Bees in the first round of the Plate competition, leaving them trophyless for 2011/12 and thinking what could have been if they could keep the team fit.

Had the Destroyers missed out on the playoffs completely, they would have come under much scrutiny from rival teams and coach Hewitt was keen to avoid a backlash.

“First of all, some people don’t like us but we don’t care and that’s why we’re viewed the way we are. Last season we publically stated ‘The Outcome Is Already Determined’, it’s a Ray Lewis quote and it means ‘We don’t care who you are, if we bring our best, we’ll beat you’. I can understand why people got upset but we had taken beatings from Southampton and Hertfordshire time and time again but now we could stand up and look them in the eye. We backed up what we said and took care of business.

When it comes to this season, if we had missed the playoffs, everyone would’ve laughed at us, the ‘unofficial forum’ would self implode, (Hooray!). We have a great league and a lot of people work hard to keep it that way. I’m proud to coach in a league where one single loss may mean you miss out on the playoffs, (especially in the MAC), two losses and you might as well load the gun yourself”.

Away from the Portsmouth Destroyers, Russell is an avid follower of the Miami Dolphins but his primary football passion is College Football; “The excitement that surrounds an NCAA game with 70,000 – 90,000 fans attending week-in-week-out, is special”.

Russell Hewitt

Last year Russell and his friends travelled across Southern America whilst watching Mississippi State v LSU, a High School game in Gainesville, Tennessee vs Florida, before finishing with the Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles.

In the previous year, Russell embarked on a one man mission driving 1,300 miles across the states, taking in more games and managing to catch a quick chat with former Dallas Cowboys and Hall Of Fame receiver Michael Irvin at a Miami Hurricanes training session.

This year he plans to head over to Dublin for the Notre Dame v Navy encounter, then fly to either Texas or Michigan depending on television schedules.

Russell has had the honour of meeting current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on more than one occasion due to his involvement with the International Series.

Russ Hewitt with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (left)

“I’ve been lucky enough to attend all the games so far as I provide all the stats that go live on NFL.com. It’s quite a pressured environment as we are the only non-American crew. The NFL audits all the games to ensure the stats are 100% correct, which we have managed to do for three straight years.

The first time I met Mr Goodell it was just a quick polite chat, but he is an amazing ‘people person’. We see him just once a year, but he’ll remember who you are, and even joke about us ‘getting it right’ in regards to the stats”.

While this season has come to an abrupt end for Hewitt and his beloved Destroyers, you can guarantee they will be back next year, determined to prove their critics wrong.

FightForTheYard would like to thank Russell Hewitt for his time and commitment to this feature.

All photos courtesy of Russell Hewitt.





Sit Down

12 03 2012

We’ve all faced a player,

who likes to trash talk,

just that little bit too much…