Ready for some football
But who's counting?
Only three weeks until football camp opens at Oregon State, and 27 days till Day 1 at Oregon and Portland State (not that football coaches and players are ever not working out or in meetings).
It's a big year in-state at the quarterback position, where returnee Justin Herbert from Sheldon High is showing the kind of leadership new coach Willie Taggart wants, whether that's in feeding his offensive linemen at home or in taking charge more in the huddle. Looks like Herbert should be the guy again (while Taggart continues recruiting for the future).
Oregon State has its most QB depth in a while, and for sure the most under coach Gary Andersen. Yes, some of that depth is inexperienced or young, but in this day and age quarterbacks play whenever they're ready, and they tend to be ready earlier. Not a lot of QBs who are able to play are going to sit three or four years and then come in and start one year as a senior.
Portland State has former QB-turned-receiver-turned-QB again Josh Kraght, a senior, still trying to fend off redshirt freshman Davis Alexander — but, wait, now Cade Smith has completed his transfer from Utah State. So, the sophomore who prepped at West Salem immediately goes to the head of the line, potentially, with Kraght the seasoned, older alternative.
Last year, OSU finished 4-8, Oregon 4-8 and PSU 3-8.
The Beavers are looking for at least a couple more wins in 2017 and a bowl game.
The Ducks are looking to reverse their numbers, and more; for them, 8-4 is a good minimum.
The Vikings should be looking for something at .500 or better in the Big Sky, after going 2-6 in the conference a year ago. With preseason games against BYU, Oregon State and UC Davis, 1-2 seems likely heading into Big Sky play, so a 5-3 conference mark would get the Vikings to 6-5 and show considerable progress.
Who says the Trail Blazers didn't play much defense last season?
In media balloting for the NBA All-Defense Team, both forward Al-Farouq Aminu and guard Damian Lillard received one point.
OK, so the first-teamers (Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and Patrick Beverley) had 198, 196, 192, 140 and 110 points — but, hey, a vote is a vote.
And Aminu and Lillard got as many points as LaMarcus Aldridge, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, George Hill, Serge Ibaka, Luc Mbah a Moute, Austin Rivers, Isaiah Thomas and Cody Zeller.
That ought to mean something.
Progress at the Park?
At 1-13-1 going into last Saturday's game at Orange County, the season has been a struggle for Portland Timbers 2.
The frustration increased with a 2-0 loss to Reno on June 24 at Providence Park, where former T2 players Seth Casiple and Brent Richards combined for the first goal.
T2 is younger than all but one team in the United Soccer League. Five T2 players are teenagers, and the oldest regulars are 25.
Only LA Galaxy II is similarly young, and they are just ahead of Portland at the bottom of the Western Conference. Many USL clubs feature significantly more experience.
No question T2 needs to win a few matches, if for no other reason than to keep the young players engaged with their own improvement.
But the measurement of this season won't come for a couple of years. If exciting players such as 17-year-old Harold Hanson and 19-year-old Augustine Williams eventually emerge as contributors for the MLS Timbers, then T2 can count 2017 as a success.